ThinkTank Oct session with RAIN CoFounder
A Journey of Sh Mahavir Sharma from Rajasthan to USA and back
"Exploring Entrepreneurship with Mahavir Pratap Sharma: Insights and Lessons"
In the recent October session of Think Tank, we were privileged to host Mahavir Pratap Sharma, a seasoned entrepreneur with over three decades of experience in diverse industries such as carpet, jewelry, event management, and social enterprises. He currently serves as the chairman of Tie India Angels, a company that invests in early-stage startups across India.
As a successful angel investor, Mahavir has been an active participant in the growth of numerous early-stage companies. Mahavir's entrepreneurial journey started with joining his mother's carpet manufacturing business, where he learned the ins and outs of the trade. After facing some disagreements with his father, he moved to the US for six years to pursue his own business venture. There, he started importing carpets and later added jewelry to his portfolio. This opportunity allowed him to gain valuable knowledge in sales and marketing, product innovation, and the consumer market. Upon returning to India, he established an export company, which has since grown to great success.
When asked about customer funding, Mahavir emphasized the importance of building a solid foundation for a business and solving problems, rather than just seeking funding. He advised startups to focus on gaining market traction, proving themselves in their niche, sector, and geography, and becoming the number one in their city before expanding their reach. Raising money should not be the primary focus of a startup, and instead, the focus should be on positive cash flow, low customer acquisition costs, good customer satisfaction, and referrals.
Mahavir also shared his insights on investing in early-stage startups. He believes that investing at the ideation stage has several benefits and has had 20 successful investments out of the 30+ investments he has made. Timing is crucial when it comes to asking for money, as an investor should feel comfortable that the worst-case scenario is that the startup will be profitable and not lose money.
"My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to thoroughly assess your business idea and be confident in its potential for success. Before seeking investment from others, you should be willing to invest in your idea yourself, through not only your time and effort but also your own resources if necessary. It's crucial to have a clear understanding of your business model, target market, and competition. Do your research and make sure that your idea is viable and has the potential to succeed. Investors want to see that you have put in the work and have a solid plan for your business."
In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures, Mahavir is also a committed philanthropist, believing in the importance of using his resources and skills to make a positive impact on the world. He encourages others to find their own unique way of giving back, whether through direct financial support, volunteering, or mentorship.
In conclusion, Mahavir Pratap Sharma's entrepreneurial journey and insights on customer funding and early-stage startups provide valuable lessons and inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. He highlights the importance of building a solid foundation, focusing on market traction and solving problems, and timing the right moment to ask for funding. Investing in early-stage startups aligns with the principles of sustainable entrepreneurship and offers both entrepreneurs and investors the opportunity for growth and success.
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