If you build it, they will come

May 23, 2016-

An aspiring entrepreneur himself, Kavi Raj Joshi, always thought Nepal lacked a proper platform for young entrepreneurs to reach out to investors, and remain connected and visible in the market. With a budding idea to change just that, he started a small venture back in 2011 which has now taken shape as STARTUPS Nepal—an online community for startup businesses in the country. The Co-founder and Community Evangelist of STARTUPS Nepal, Joshi, talked to the Post’s Marissa Taylor about this new venture, and everything you need to know about startups. Excerpts:   

With STARTUPS Nepal you have created a unique platform that brings together entrepreneurs and investors in the same digital space. Can you tell us a little more about this new venture?

STARTUPS Nepal is an online community of startups in Nepal, promoted by Next Venture Corp. We provide an online platform for startups by creating an ecosystem for all stakeholders. If you look at the portal, you will find investors, entrepreneurs and business events happening around town, literature about success stories with info graphs—basically everything that will help bridge the gap between investors and entrepreneurs. We already have 142 users registered in the two weeks since our launch. Through STARTUPS Nepal, we hope to not just help small startups take off but also be visible globally. Our activities will branch out offline in the form of meet ups soon.

We are a for-purpose entity, not a for-profit company and our company’s main purpose is to strengthen Nepal’s start-up ecosystem. We have partnered with companies with similar visions and principles, namely: King’s College, Braindigit, and Next Venture Corp. But we are looking to partner with other companies from the development sector, financial sector, media houses and the government sector as well.

Often in this cutthroat, competitive world we are taught to protect the good ideas that we have in the fear that they might get copied or stolen by someone else. Why do you think, for young entrepreneurs just starting out, it is equally important to network and talk about ideas with a lot of people?

As the proverb goes, ideas are a dime a dozen. Everyone has incredible ideas but the actual work lies in the execution. You need to create a profile for your business, the visibility to attract investors who believe in your ideas, and the expertise to carry them out. One should be more focused on the execution of a great idea instead of being worried about it getting used by someone else. It is the vision a person has that counts in the end. 

What do investors look for before deciding to invest in a startup? Is it only about profitability, or does the larger vision also factor in?

Before investing in a company, our primary focus is on the founders of the company—their passion and dedication. Ideas can be pivoted and refined over time but people’s attitude cannot be changed. We are a people-focused company; we believe that genuine, visionary people can run successful businesses and that is what we look for. Besides that, the market potential and the product value are also crucial factors that we look into.

Why do you think the time is right for aspiring entrepreneurs to take the plunge and start something new?

There is nothing as ‘the right time’ in a business. When you are passionate about something and believe in what you are doing then you just take the plunge. But I think a bit of work experience—not necessarily a corporate workplace experience—helps. I had never worked for a corporate house before and it was pretty tough for me to adjust to working with a team as a leader, and learning how to recruit team members and manage them. So, a bit of experience doesn’t hurt. Also, you need to have enough knowledge about what you’re doing. If you have access to resources, good knowledge of the market, and good connections, then it will decrease your chances of failure.  

What advice do you have for those who have a bright idea and are trying to set out towards making that a reality?

I think the main idea is to remain focused and not lose sight of your goal. There are many people who focus on too many things at once; stick to your ideas and don’t stray off track.  

I also think you also need a bit of perseverance and patience when you’re working on something you believe in. Do not think of only short-term goals. Entrepreneurship should not a hobby; it is a passion you build and grow over time. 

Published: 23-05-2016 08:54

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