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The Golden Tap: The Inside Story of Hyper Funded Indian Startups Hardcover – 20 Nov 2015
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The Golden Tap is a once in a generation chronicle of one of the most exciting times for the Indian economy. During the era chronicled by Kashyap Deorah; the technology startup revolution got started, had a slowdown, and then saw an amazing rise through to where we are today in 2015. What makes this an even more fascinating read is that Kashyap had a front row seat to most of the people, companies, and events that led to the entire cycle. Once you pick this up, its hard to put it down. This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the mindset of founders, investors, and the larger market as a whole. Many years from now, when my kids ask me about the tech revolution in India, this will be the book I'd point them to. --By Miten Sampat on 16 November 2015
As a young, first-time entrepreneur myself, following Kashyap Deorah for a while, I was looking to forward to reading his book The Golden Tap . Having started up in early 2013, I have been through the different phases of the recent startup phenomenon in the beginning of the hyper-growth phase, the peak and now what is increasingly being recognized as the bust, or at least a correction. I had initially not been able to wrap my head around some of the same questions that he talks about why are these companies valued so high, why are investors putting in such huge amounts of money in them, and what is the possible future of these startups in the Indian economy. It had taken me a long time to get to some perspective on these myself, but if someone is looking to understand this phenomenon thoroughly, I could not recommend a better book than this. Starting from the beginning of the internet in early 1990s, it takes you through an amazing journey of the tech industry in India. From early days of the 2000s to the beginning of e-commerce in India and the current hyper-growth phase, this book will give you a thorough understanding of how this industry has taken shape, and what is the possible future from here. There are some really insightful sections which explain how the VCs and global hedge funds operate, especially for those who are not in this industry, and more insights from Kashyap s own experience of building and selling companies in both India and US. If you are an Indian entrepreneur today, specially in the internet/smartphone industry, I think this is one of the books you absolutely MUST read in the next 1-2 months, because it can shape your understanding and perception of the global tech and VC industry in so many ways. The only way to predict the future is if you know the past really well, and this book does a really good job of explaining that. --By Kovid Kapoor on 14 December 2015
Marvelous book that takes you though 20 years of technology startup industry, booms and bursts, spanning powai valley to mountain view to everything in between. Author takes you through the insides of deal making, team building, networking, technology innovation, campus life and whatever else it takes, to make it in technology startups, he walks you through this both as a professional keenly observing what is happening around him and as a first person account of his journey of entrepreneurial triumph. Book provides a good reference to build ones understanding of what keeps the startup economy tick, with authors own way of looking at it. Towards the second half, book is more India focused, particularly on what has been happening from last couple of years. While media tells you what they choose to or what suits them, author lays is bare before you. I loved the end where author rewards his reader with many incites into what future could hold, potential path for wannabe entrepreneurs. A honest and good book , definitely recommended. --By somesh on 23 November 2015
About the Author
Kashyap Deorah is an entrepreneur and investor. Over fifteen years, he has split his time between Silicon Valley and India building global technology companies. Besides India and US, he has done business in China, South East Asia and Northern Europe. Kashyap has started and sold three companies, worked with public companies in the US and India, invested in a score of startups, and mentored many more. He started his first company RightHalf.com during his final year at IIT Bombay in 2000. After an acquisition by a Silicon Valley company, Kashyap spent seven years in the US. He returned to India in 2007 to start Chaupaati Bazaar, a phone commerce marketplace, then merged it with India’s leading retailer Future Group. In 2012, he co-founded mobile payments company Chalo and sold it to San Francisco based OpenTable, a leader in the restaurant reservations space. He is passionate about traveling to new places and telling a good story. He lives in New Delhi with his wife and three year old son.
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In the last 25 years , the financial and economic ecosystem has undergone changes on the basis of introduction of new ideas, product and technologies . This has also created bubble of enthusiasm and huge influx of money , sometimes defying conventional logic. This bubble had also been busted in the recent past. The author’s narrative on the aforementioned has coincided with three waves, which defines a time period. The first is Internet wave(1994-2002), which begins with the Public internet and ends disastrously with the busting of dot com bubble. The next is Globalization wave(2003-2009), where Silicon Valley VC and New York PE funds are helping setting up offices in India and ends with major economic crisis- a big fiasco, which also resulted in either elimination of some leading financial institution in USA or they survived by government intervention. The list includes Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and AIG. The last is the Smart phone wave (2010-present) , where e-commerce has gained a major prominence.
There was a time when it was speculated that Internet would dislodge every industry from every corner of the world. There were myriad number of Internet companies who had gone public during later stages of the Internet wave. What finally happened? The dot com bubble resulted in nosediving of stock value, thereby companies ended up making huge losses. During the Globalization wave, there were influx of money flowing inside , pumped by investors. What spurred investor’s enthusiasm has been debated with skepticism by very few experts. The primary reason is increase in price which is spread by word of mouth publicity and thereby amplifying stories, which justifies the price increase. Albeit , some investors do have doubts regarding price value but still plunged into it.
There are instances where the investor’s money was judiciously used by a company. There are also instances where the investors after initial investments were exterminated. Those were the testing times, where few newbies survived and most just vanished from the scene. Let’s touch upon the journey of three companies who beat the odds by bootstrapping during initial years, enabling them to lay a solid foundation. In the later years , these grew in leaps and bounds. Apart from companies no technological ventures that were funded during the globalization wave had gone public. Also none of the companies were acquired by any public company for any reasonable amount.
The travel portal MakeMyTrip.com was founded in year 2000 by Deep Kalra with funding from a company called eVentures. More investment was promised but the investors itself disappeared. Deep Kalra then bootstrapped the company in 2001. It helped him to build the real funding team and the company. In 2010, it went IPO in the US market. In the process, it also has the distinction of becoming the first Indian Internet company to cross a billion dollars in value in any public market.
The job portal Naukri.com was founded by Sanjeev Bhikchandani in the year 1997. He raised money with investments from ICICI Ventures in 2000. Given the wobbling financial climate at that time, he chose to be over protective. He kept the money in fixed deposit and bootstrapped the company. Over the next five years, he managed to run the company profitably. He also launched matrimonial portal- Jeevansaathi.com, real estate portal- 99acres.com and education portal- Shisha.com. Sanjeev Bhikchandani’s company became the first Internet company to go IPO in Indian markets.
Justdial is the company which was profitably run by Mani. During the internet wave, an entrepreneur named Raj Koneru intended to acquire the company in return of his company’s stock. Mani could neither ignore the offer made to him nor link the fate of his company on someone else’s stock. He agreed with the offer but not for entire company . Instead only a portion of it. Furthermore he asked the payment in cash. This made him a millionaire in dollar terms. Opting for cash also turned out to be a smart move as the dotcom bubble consumed Koneru’s company and it’s subsidiaries.
The subject of the book is interesting because of the novelty factor. He could have done wonders with the subect. However he has squandered it. It’s an enfeeble and disingenuous attempt and the book ended up as a rudimentary product. It turned out to be more gibberish because the author continued to highlight himself , his alma mater and the companies founded by his alumini , rather than focusing totally on the subject. Why did the author consider for appearing in IIT? What was his opinion on the girls and co-education? He has got single digit JEE rank. He was the poster boy of IIT Bombay. He was considered trailblazer , dynamite rod and later on known for his fiery speeches. These were self glorifying narratives used by and for him . These were superfluous and impaired the quality of the subject matter. He is a brilliant student and successful entrepreneur but I am extremely skeptical about his merit as an author. I was completely mislead by positive reviews here. He did show flashes of brilliance here and there and in later stages , and subject matter related to e-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon was interesting. However , overall the outcome is latent which hardly holds your attention.
Who were hired had one thing to say. Who founded the company with VC funding had another thing to say.
Rarely they make sense to someone bootstrapping his/her first venture.
Who have started small with angel funding or bootstrapping and have got an exit are hard to find and don't make that much headlines. These people talk sense and so does this book.
The best thing about this book is educating readers about the thesis of big funds, their intentions and thought process along with the difference between India, China & US.
Should read this book sooner rather than later.
P.S. Initially it felt slow but if one can find the mentioned people on LinkedIn would be shocked to see the role they are playing in the industry now.
If Peter Theils "Zero to One" is the oracle -the Future teller this is the Neo The One.
Its like Kashyap is takes you on a time travel where you want.
On a critical side , the book could have dine with some tighter proof reading(couple of grammatical and spelling errors) and some factual which the author could correct. Liars Poker while a great book on wall street had nothing to do with LTCM, i think the author mistook it for "When Geniuses Failed" by Roger Lewinstein..
Overall its a enjoyable read provided you are aware of the happenings in the eCom space in general.
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