Shivjeet Kullar

The author is a legendary ad man who has won over a 100 awards in his career. He is also an author, a novelist a playwright and song writer. Now he has founded the unusual and powerful website which helps power other websites, brands and businesses ahead

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Point Blank: The ABC Of Starting Up

A is for Adytude and that’s how I’m here in the first place, writing about start ups, working and thinking and strategizing non stop…but more about that later

A is for Adytude and that’s how I’m here in the first place, writing about start ups, working and thinking and strategizing non stop…but more about that later. 

B is for Bandwidth — technological and mental. Both are crucial. 
C is for consultants and mentors. How can you teach a soldier how to fight or kill when you’ve never been in a war yourself?
D is for DCF etc. You need someone to model and spin your numbers. There’s a language to money!

Expert fund raisers — nine out of ten are useless. Be very careful.

Fake it till you make it. Redit got so few users upon launch they made multiple fake accounts to prove numbers. They went on to be valued at $ 500 

G is for a Gamechanging site. But it’s also for Garbage! 

HNIs is just a polite word for rich people who fund you after negotiating you down to the size of cherry!

Idea. That’s how it begins, doesn’t it? But is your idea good enough? Take a look at the X factor below.

Jokers. If founding an Internet company is like being dealt a pack of cards you can be sure that you will get a big fat nasty joker from time to time. Totally unforeseen events that will threaten your business and your company. Be aware, be brave, be creative in your solutions.

Kick — running a startup is one of the biggest kicks in the world. It’s as addictive as cocaine, crystal meth, LSD or Crack. And as dangerous.

Luck. Years ago someone was recommending a general to Napoleon. The person said, ‘He is courageous, talented, brave, resourceful and a born leader.’ Napoleon had only one question to ask. ‘Yes, but is he lucky?’ Without luck it’s very difficult to make a startup succeed.

Mount Everest in thunderstorm. I find this analogy very accurate. Making a startup succeed is like trying to climb the Everest in a thunderstorm. The peak is very high and the weather is incredibly uncertain.

Nothing to lose. Why do so many young people launch startups? At 26 years of age or a few years older. My theory is they have nothing to lose. Often they are unmarried with no kids. And can easily change path if they fail. There are very few idiots like me who launch a startup after 50!

Optimism. Without this there’s no way to run a startup. You have to have enough optimism for yourself and the 15 or 150 peoplewho work with you!

Ping pong against a mountain. Once you launch there’s no telling how the Internet will behave. It’s like playing ping pong against a mountain. You hit the ball but never know which way it will bounce back.

Quantum of Arrogance. It’s a funny thing but I know many people who now have billion dollar companies, and while some are arrogant others are very approachable. Those who are arrogant confuse me — they have been through such a journey — how can they forget where they came from. I never ever refuse to talk to young people who need advice. 

Mail me at

Real time. This is a really strange thing. When you’re a founder time plays tricks with you. Often, I get really impatient at someone who hasn’t done something and then they point out that I only told them yesterday — in my mind 3 days have passed!

Skin. You will always get asked this question by any venture capitalist (VC) or funder. How much ‘skin’ do you have in the game? If they don’t feel that you are ‘heavily’ invested or you can’t prove you sold your motorcycle and your aunt to start the companythey feel wary about investing.

Team. As difficult as getting funding is getting good people — specially in the beginning. You have to cajole, convince, prove, conjure and inspire conviction and passion.
U is for UI. No matter what your UI looks like people always tell you that it needs to be improved. Ignore them and do what you think is right.

V is for VCs. V is also for Vultures. The right VC will be the wind beneath your wings. The wrong one will make you fall to the ground.

What’s next? This is a really big bib question. With a funding meltdown looking imminent what’s going to happen? How do you get a big idea off the ground? Well, one of the big clues is below.

X factor. That’s what we do at — we have thousands of people who come and play the ‘game’ and give views on ad films and other things including startup ideas and website offerings. A good way to reduce your risk by getting feedback and suggestions.
Your belief. In the end this is what counts — your belief in yourself and your idea.

Zeroes. Very misleading. Six zeroes is a million dollar funding. Seven zeroes is 10 million dollars. But the result of overfunding and overgrowth — only zeroes!!

This article was published in BW Businessworld issue dated 'July 11, 2016' with cover story titled ' I-Banking Special - Dealmakers'

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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startups magazine 11 July 2016 funding

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