One of the most memorable & valuable piece of advise I got was from my long standing VC friend Rajesh Jog – who was at that time partner at E-Ventures and now runs VJIVE Networks. – my first start up was just closing its round with E-Ventures, and I remember sitting with Rajesh in a classic mahogany conference room with deep burgundy leather chairs discussing the business of c2w.

Rajesh knew I was a marwari (a business entrepreneur community in India that is quite classical and old fashioned) and that my wife and I had just had our second daughter.

He started a very interesting discussion with me:

"Alok" he said, "You have 2 girls now, and I am sure you,  like all good Marwari fathers, will already be planning long term for them – that would include making sure that they get married into the right families, etc?"

While I didn’t immediately react, Rajesh had sure hit a soft spot. Our community is over protective, and old school in its way of thinking. The older family folks usually ‘match’ girls and boys – living  the legend that families marry each other, not just a couple.

His reference was an analogy to an amazing insight. He told me, "Alok, just like young girls can be groomed in the right and appropriate way to marry into business and famous families, you will have to groom your newly started business into becoming a beautiful and very attractive ‘bride’ so that all the most famous ‘men’ in the world – a la Yahoo, MSN, Google etc will be anxious to marry (acquire) you!"

In a very simple way he had influenced me forever:

  • Exits of start ups firms especially funded by VCs need to be planned almost simultaneously along with actually creating the business. The entrepreneur must understand that his business will need to be sold or IPOed (in whichever way giving up a large stake for outsiders)
  • It’s essential to understand the DNA of the buyer who will find the eventual business attractive and hence build basis a certain TG (target group) in mind.

A caveat to this – in no way does this mean that originality of business concepts or first in the world ideas need to be shunned – it's just that as the business evolves, understand which birds of similar feathers can you start hanging out with.

  • Getting into the radar of the prospective bridgegrooms is as important as being an attractive bride. Hey, you need to bump into each other casually in parties (conferences), in common friends functions (VC sponsored meets and retreats) and in friends’ weddings (common entrepreneur friends’ settings) to date (start discussing business interests) and eventually marry!! (get acquired)

Hmm…. If you’re wondering what happened to what we Indians call ‘love marriage’ – meeting someone in the bus and falling in love or glancing at someone at the bar and making him your spouse….errrr…. I’d rather settle for pre-arranged bride who can cook like my mom :-)


Originally posted on January 8, 2010 on

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hahaha  support for arrange marriages ;)

Hey Thanks Alok to give this thought Prepare for the END while you are starting up...which gives you comparatively less surprises and Being Prepared is always better to let Go...

BTW Arranged Marriage these days are also not that simple as earlier and hence taking the startup route and especially for a Startup Entrepreneur Love marriages becomes more practical than Arranged marriages because of Expectations ;-)


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