We bring to you Neeraj Gupta, Founder & CEO at FormulateIP based in India and USA. Applying his business and technical background, Neeraj assists clients in protecting and expanding their domestic and international knowledge-based businesses using IP protection, licensing and strategic planning. Neeraj is also a co-founder at Excubator which provides guidance and support needed to entrepreneurs for building a successful entrepreneurial practice. We had a brief interview with him, here are the insights of the conversation.
E-Cell: What does the term Entrepreneurship means?
Neeraj Gupta: Entrepreneurship is all about taking risk and creating value for a business. Every single business has two outputs,
(a) The impact you create; as in, the value the product/idea adds to the ecosystem, and
(b) The monetary value that the business generates.
A sustainable business is a one that creates an impact while generating substantial monetary value, so, in a nutshell, entrepreneurship is all about taking risk and creating value.
E-Cell: From a bird’s eye view of your profile shows that you are into many activities. How do you manage everything?
Neeraj Gupta: My LinkedIn profile list many activities and it doesn’t also. I am an expert in innovation and entrepreneurship. I have always believed in this mantra, when you start a Company, you are the Company. A decade and a half ago, when I started out I was doing everything in my Company, as in, the networking, the marketing, etc. So I got involved in a lot of different activities. Then when I got introduced to investing, I got involved with a lot of other activities. The initiatives I am involved with lean towards the intellectual property sector. Managing and being involved in so many initiatives is possible when you are a smart player. Prioritising and channeling your time and energy respectively plays a key role in managing different roles. I have long term and short term goals. I plan my day at least a day ahead. Every week I try to plan my week for major events.
E-Cell: What are your thoughts on the startup culture in India?
Neeraj Gupta: According to me, irrespective of popular belief there is no bubble that the startup ecosystem is reaching. The Entrepreneurship culture in India is at a very nascent stage. The culture is learning and growing, so it’s “baby steps “. Five to ten years down the line, can we maybe start thinking of describing the whole scenario? Every couple of years a buzz gets created about a certain sector of the startup ecosystem. For instance the buzz created around e commerce. This buzz gets created when people invest in that particular sector thinking of its growth and probable boom. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, this buzz for instance, the cold response from food tech, for whatever reason, after all that investment, the sector hasn’t shown the promise that was expected.
E-Cell: What is it that an angel investor like yourself, look for in a startup before making an investment decision?
Neeraj Gupta: Being an angel investor is a high risk job. From the very beginning an angel investor looks into the person whose idea/startup it is, whether the person knows what he/she is doing, whether he/she technically sound. In the early stages, the entrepreneurs concept and his/her skill set is what an angel investor looks into and for uses all their energies in. The startup team is also very important whether the team is conceptually sound and if the founders have their data right or not.
E-Cell: What should be the most important goal of a budding entrepreneur maximum profit / maximum customer traction or something else?
Neeraj Gupta: Having a single minded objective doesn’t work in my opinion. In today’s market, I feel a startup needs to create an impact in the ecosystem while sustaining itself economically.
E-Cell: What are your future plans regarding Lawcubator, Execubator and FormulateIP?
Neeraj Gupta: Mainly we are looking to create values. But yes we are looking to expand internationally for instance, we are looking into the issue of sexual harassment. It seems to be a never ending issue.
E-Cell: Do you think it’s important for someone who wants to start a venture to have prior work experience. If yes then why?
Neeraj Gupta: Having experience is always a good thing. But it is not a primary requirement. All experienced entrepreneurs are not successful. All that matters is how quickly you learn, how you look at the whole ecosystem and particularly your own startup. You have to be serious and have to have an eagerness to learn.
E-Cell: Today flat structure is very popular in startups, what are your views on it?
Neeraj Gupta: These days organisations, value transparency and rightfully so. Starting out, companies mostly have no structure, the structure comes in very gradually as revenues increase. My suggestion would be to concentrate on distribution of responsibilities amongst the team which is more important than the structure.
E-Cell: Any advice to an entrepreneur?
Neeraj Gupta: Don’t do it because everybody is doing it. Find a problem, and see if you can find good solutions to that problem. Making an impact while sustaining economically is the goal not becoming an entrepreneur because everybody is doing it.