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November 11, 2018

021Disrupt: Sameer Chishty’s 10 non-obvious lessons for your startup


Sun, Nov 11, 2018

KARACHI: Chief of SparkLabs, the world’s third largest early-stage tech investor, Sameer Chishty shed light on the 10 significant lessons that will evolve startups, on the second day of Pakistan's largest investment platform, 021Disrupt.

1- Boring is better than exciting 

“As a venture investor we like things that are more boring than exciting. We like businesses that are so boring that no one wants to be in them. We like problems that are big enough. You want to be doing things other people aren’t doing. You want to know things that other people don’t know. That’s the foundation of a great business.”

2- Micro vs Macro

“The macro may be your friend but the value creation that happens in the micro aspects of the business includes the customer acquisition cost, the sales –where are the $1 sales coming from which is a more crucial side.”

3- Culture is more significant than strategy

"Strategy is great. Without strategy, businesses cannot happen. But culture eats strategy for breakfast. If you don’t have the right people, the right decision processing, the right values, the company is useless."

4- Understanding the need

"You need to sell to the person buying the dog food because what they’re paying for is a happy and healthy dog not just dog food. If you don’t understand the whole segment of what is being bought, you don’t understand how they want to buy and what exactly the centrographic elements are, therefore you don’t have a business.

5- Steal, don’t build

“I’m not asking you to go steal stuff. Don’t try to do everything. There are a lot of people in the ecosystem, a lot of companies who already have what you need in your stack. Go get those.”

6- Learn how to say no

“There's only so much time in the day and only so much capital. No should be your default answer. Always ask yourself, what’s in it for me? Be selfish. Say no to toxic investors.”

7- Employees overs customers, always

“Think a lot about your employee value proposition almost  before your customer proposition because talent is scarce so if you find good talent you should want to make sure that this is the greatest place for them.”

8- Women are overtaking men

“To found a company as a woman requires a lot of effort. And we discovered those women founders to be the best of the best. They are better at collaborating, are more empathetic, they’re more reluctant to pull the plug and just generally form a better ecosystem.”

9- Listen to your investors, not your parents

"Your parents want you to get a good night’s sleep, not take any risks and be safe and happy. Investors on the other hand, we don’t care about you. If you come to us and tell us you haven’t showered in three days, we would love you. Because that means you’ve worked so hard, you forgot to shower.”

10- Founders above investors

“What I don’t like is when it’s all about the investors or the consultants, because those are support services, they are not important. It should be about you, always. So if you’re talking to an investor and its not about you, it’s the wrong guy. Founders should be helping founders.”