2003 – Post dotcom bust.
My co-founder GK (Gopala Krishnan) and I had launched a mobile business called mobile2win in China and India and were gaining solid traction. We had been awarded the Indian Idol business by Sony India and also were getting business in China from China Mobile and China Unicom etc.
However, there was no cash to grow. It was always a hand to mouth experience. The business needed a strong cash injection and VCs were the guys whom we both knew so well, and could surely help us.
The VCs were broke. They were so bruised by the dotcom crash that they just wouldn’t meet anyone. Some of them were bankrupt (like our VC in contests2win.com – a firm called E-ventures India)
I remember distinctly sitting in our dark conference room and brooding, when GK looked at a large poster of logos of brands we used to work with – it was always in our conference room as a testament of our partnerships.
I remember GK’s eyes gleaming when he looked at the logo’s and said, "Alok – we have been meeting the wrong folks. Our VCs are our clients – Not anyone else. You need to double up your efforts by getting business from clients. Stop wasting time chasing VC’s and get the business funded by business cash flow – not investments. Investments will never happen now. Business will always happen."
We did exactly that and grew the business to comfortably raise VC much later.
In 2006, mobile2win was acquired by Walt Disney in China and mobile2win became the best deal in my life.