Entrepreneur Anubhav Jain ran businesses in Australia, Singapore, India, Japan and the United States and has recently co-founded Go Doctor, a start-up aiming to unite the entire global medical community. He spoke with Business Review about the lessons he learned as entrepreneur and the things people should take into account when starting a company, especially how to secure funding in the early stages.
Jain will join Startup Path, the event organized by Business Review on September 10-11 in Bucharest. He will have a keynote speech on fund raising and will also host a network table in the second day of the event.
Was there a common challenge you faced from a financing perspective in all the companies you founded?
There are two major challenges we have faced over time when it comes to raising and closing funds.
The first one is the big one – valuation. This is something that will be an issue, however the best way we have overcome this is by being absolutely transparent with our validations, projections and assumptions of the opportunity we are working on. When our potential investors sees all the hard work, effort, sweat and energy being invested and ongoing commitment this is something that usually works its way out.
The second one is – timing. It is unfortunate, but we have been in situations where there has been a lot of interest and confirmations in funding our startup, however when it comes to showing us the money, there are no shows or significant delays in the realisation of funds. This puts a lot of pressure to keep our startup afloat without disrupting the current team or operations and managing the finances as best as possible. Our take on this is to start early on and give yourself at least 6 to 9 months before you run out of cash, this also means keeping a real close eye on your cash flows which allows for dynamically tweaking on the go.
What’s your recommendation for an entrepreneur that is just starting his or her first business?
A lot of entrepreneurs in my views jump into opportunities real quick. In my opinion it always works best to really slow things down and truly reflect on the point of what is it you are exactly working on, is it a problem or a need you are solving. There are very different approaches to each workings and the strategy gets built right from here.
How should an entrepreneur manage the potential risk of running out of funding too fast?
Keeping a close watch on the cash flows is always important. It is also important to initially identify the funding strategy based on whether you are solving a need or problem.
In case you are solving a problem with your startup, your revenue realisation should be of utmost priority which should in turn assist not only assist in covering some of the costs but also depending on the market size allow you to raise funds at a faster pace for scale.
Usually need based solutions may take more time to establish a self-sustainable model, as you most likely would addressing several factors be it, culture, people, regulations, etc.
One should also chalk out a road map that allows you to quickly validate aspects of the opportunity and most importantly in bite size chunks. This would further allow one to quickly fail, reflect, re-plan or tweak and execute at a much faster pace.
Providing regular and timely updates with your existing investors is also crucial, sharing not only the successes but failures is also important. Sometimes existing investors given this approach have proven to be true angels.
What are some of the global funding trends you are seeing right now?
There is a lot of money out there, however the only issue is realising it due to the most recent decline of true entrepreneurship. It is becoming more and more difficult to raise funds primarily at the Seed/Series A stage.
We see a lot of numbers moving, Angels dropping their investments from USD 250,000 to USD 25,000, venture caps investing as low as USD 100,000 due to the same issue.
Accelerators and Investors (PE/VC’s) are now focusing more on specific industries, impact and or technologies making it easier for both the startups and themselves to really add value in a number of ways beyond capital.
What are the industries in which start-ups can secure funding easier?
I strongly feel solutions in AI/blockchain/Medtech/BioTech with the right cause would attract investments.
What’s the objective of GoDoctor and how did you start the company? What’s the development path? Do you have an exit strategy?
At GoDoctor, we are constantly striving towards the betterment of humanity through technology and innovation. Our first milestone is to unite the entire global medical community, establish a safe place for doctors, hospitals, universities, companies and other medical service providers to be able to effectively communicate, collaborate and build a wealth of knowledge and opportunities. We started this company in Feb 2015 where 3 friends came together based on a medical challenge experienced by one of them. Given that we started this business in the MedTech space with no background or experience in the Medical world, our first step we set out to achieve was to establish a global medical advisory panel consisting of doctors and medical services providers that we could bounce off our ideas and validate all our assumptions of the need we identified in the medical industry. Since then, we have been working towards the digital transformation in the medical industry and receiving a great deal of praise and admiration from the community. We are far from an exit strategy, at GoDoctor we are working our way to making our milestones a reality for the betterment of humanity and till we have a measurable form of this success in regards to our vision we would continue to drive ourselves in this direction.
What are the core features of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in India versus Australia versus the US?
Having run businesses in Australia, Singapore, India, Japan and the United States, I feel that the entrepreneurial ecosystem in San Francisco is one of the best, expensive but still the best. The best part is the authenticity you experience, the willingness to provide feedback and try out new things is at another level, regulatory products put aside. The ecosystem embraces positive development, promotes and is open to change.
Many countries are trying to follow, however failing miserably to understanding the true nature of what it takes to establish an ecosystem for true entrepreneurship vs wannapreneurs. From the very start of incorporation, compliance, incentives, grants etc to growing startups most ecosystems around the world treat you the same across the board.
Australia is an interesting place and growing rapidly, the best part is the size of the country and the potential of innovation in a number of ways. I strongly recommend booking a one way ticket, experiencing it and trust me you would not want to come back.