Beyond the Startup Drama

The startup world has today become a circus.

Once, ‘startup’ meant innovation. Today it has become this drama of VC funding, valuation, unicorn, week-over-week growth, blitzscaling, and pursuit of the next billion/trillion/quadrillion.

Now, there is NOTHING intrinsically wrong with any of the above — if you become a unicorn by creating real and sustainable value for customers, what can be better?

But how often is that happening? Why are investors and entrepreneurs so relieved to ‘exit’ the company, as if it is a ticking time-bomb?

Now, we know that investors have a finite fund-life, and entrepreneurs also want to move on to their next gig — fair enough. But then, why does it sound like they are jumping from a burning ship? And when a company collapses right after the exit, does anyone feel embarrassed?

As long as the investors make money, you are a hero.

Unfortunately, this totally disorients new entrepreneurs. They feel like a failure if they don’t do a Series A in 18 months. You have to grow every week (ideally every hour), even if you lose money on each customer.

The theory is that they will be profitable at scale. By then, hopefully, everyone would have exited the burning ship.

That is how this circus works.

– Rajan

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