India, Startups, and Mentors

“If I hadn’t had mentors, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m a product of great mentoring, great coaching… Coaches or mentors are very important. They could be anyone–your husband, other family members, or your boss.” Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo

As I shifted through some articles on Linkedin, I came across one titled “The Future of Tech Startups and VC Investments in India” written by Jayanth Kolla of Convergence Catalyst. I commented on how it was “…[d]efinitely note-worthy to see it from the local perspective and love the observations as to the possible effects in the coming long run.” I wanted to indulge a bit more on the article and which observation I loved in particular as I believe it is definitely something that all fresh entrepreneurs and those thinking of starting up a business should know.

Jayanth mentions “immature founders” as one of the four key characteristics contributing to the the current ‘state of startups in India’ per say. Many of whom the startup they are involved in, are actually their first venture and thus a lack of experience.

Inexperience is something every person must go through. To be ‘experienced’ one must first be ‘inexperienced,’ that’s just the way it is. Fortunately for us, the difference between here (by that I mean in the United States where I live) versus India, are the numerous viable mentors that exist.

I can assure you that every successful businessman out there has had a mentor in some shape or form to help get them where they are. Take advantage of mentors. I’m going to saw it again to make sure you understand the importance of it. Take. Advantage. of. Mentors.

They exist and believe it or not, they want to help. I was lucky enough to meet various small business owners who took a liking to me before beginning my first venture and there are countless number of times when an unexpected mentor would come knocking at my door instead. Mentors are just like you. They are passionate about what they do and want to surround themselves with people with similar passions. In fact, when I finally found a space to rent for my brick and mortar for Showroom82, my landlord, himself being an entrepreneur, offered himself as a mentor if every I wanted to ask.

When I was negotiating my lease, a mentor of mine would mention things I would never even think of from specification of signage to costs of renovation. When I was trying to expand Showroom82, Alibaba created a (now defunct) marketplace targeting the US and another mentor of mine brought up to me this alternative sales channel that definitely helped the bottom line as well.

There is a great Ted Talk by Tai Lopez that I recommend watching if you have the time that talks about the importance of mentors and how invaluable a resource in can be.

As a local entrepreneur in India, Jayanth noticed the lack of mentors and noted it as a current weakness of that particular startup environment. As entrepreneurship in India grows, mentors in the area will become more plentiful. I assure you it will definitely play a key role in their future of tech startups and will play a key role in your future as well.


  1. “The Future of Tech Startups and VC investments in India”
  2. “The law of 33% | Tai Lopez | TedXTalks”


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