Not So Fast! Nag Palavalli on the Perils of Easy Capital Raising

Nagarjun PalavalliCan you raise venture capital too easily? Nagarjun “Nag” Palavalli, my guest on this episode, thinks you can.  Nag’s journey from dropping out of college in India to the fast paced start-up culture at the Alchemist Accelerator in Silicon Valley illustrates the pitfalls of quick success.  Nag also discusses why the romantic notion of the lone entrepreneur building a start-up can actually kill a great idea.  And Nag identifies the one person he wishes he’d talked to before launching.

My Guest

Nag Palavalli is that guy in your dorm that not only talks about dropping out and starting a tech company, but actually goes through with it.  As a student Nag was frustrated that his school lacked a decent learning management platform.  So he quit and started Eduora.

After doing initial development work in his hometown of Bangalore, India, Nag moved to Silicon Valley to participate in the Alchemist Accelerator.  Nag shares his experiences launching on a shoe string and then swimming in deep end of the venture capital pool.

The Take Home Lessons
  • Raising capital quickly and easily isn’t necessarily the best thing for a start-up. Nag believes pretty strongly that he would have benefited from the objective feedback off experienced investors. Getting critiques from investors with very broad experience would have helped Nag avoid a number of mistakes.
  • Talk to customers before you design a product. The urge to build something based on your assumptions must be suppressed.
  • Nag was selling to large universities without understanding how they made decisions about purchasing. Never underestimate how complicated sales is when there’s a group decision involved.
  • “Be a frolicking deer.” Don’t hunt the venture capitalists, make them hunt you.
  • The solo entrepreneur is a myth.  “When you’re on your own your mind will let you agree with whatever you want to agree to.”
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Why a Venture Capital Podcast About Failure?

From early childhood you’ve always heard the saying “Learn from your mistakes.” In the venture capital industry you frequently hear “Fail fast” to learn and get to the right idea.  Great advice. So, for this venture capital podcast I interview venture capital backed entrepreneurs about what they learned when their start-up didn’t go as planned. I hope you can learn from their valuable experience.

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