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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Our crisis package for startups

With bailout plans announcing all over the world, I thought it would be a good time for me to write about some of the things we are doing to help our startups as well. They may not billion dollar packages but I think it is something that will benefit them more than blindly throwing money around.

Generating demand
As part of our efforts to build partner networks in 6 verticals (I am responsible for phone and books), we are pooling the demand for applications from our bigger partners. What we are effectively doing is creating marketplaces akin to the AppStore across our bigger partners for the smaller startups to tap into.

I think this is sensible as we are allowing the marketplace to decide what startups should survive and what should not. We don't believe in keeping startups alive just because we funded them. They must prove their value in the market place.

Offering common assetsThrough the partner networks, we are also offering access to common assets such as open APIs, distribution points, payment systems, access to markets et al that is contributed by all our partners. This will signficantly reduce startup costs for any small companies.

Our belief in offering help at this infrastructure level is that all companies are equal. We don't believe in companies that are too big to fail.

Match making
We offer match making services for our startups to meet private investors for different stages of funding. Part of my open call for a business angel network is to find a more efficient way to match startups and angel investors. This is to complement what we have already done for Series A fund matching.

Talent development

Finally, we are subsidizing talent development programmes for people whom companies might have retrenched during this period. This is to help keep the team intact and at the same time, develop their capabilities.

The above will be the core of what we will be offering. We are not sure whether these are sufficient but we are always listening. If you like to suggest anything else, drop a comment.

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