Straight talk > Would you back a first time entrepreneur?

Would you back a first time entrepreneur?
NEN asked its VC Experts: would you back a first time entrepreneur? Under what circumstances? it turns out there's good news out there for first-timers.
Hear direct from the VCs- would they back a first-time entrepreneur?
> Balaji Srinivas, Aureos Capital
> Avnish Bajaj, Matrix Partners
> Alok Mittal, Canaan Partners
Balaji Srinivas, Aureos Capital
Balaji SrinivasI would back a first time entrepreneur. But today my first time entrepreneurs are different: they have substantial experience.

They are not figuring out their businesses; they are figuring our whether their company will succeed, because they know their business.

I'm not willing to live with the other option, which is: I don't know what I'm doing but I will figure it out. That is not acceptable to me.

Today what is acceptable to me is: I know my business and I have done this for X number of years, and now I have this idea which is the extension of this business. I don't know whether it will work or not, but I know the big picture, and I know that I have all the elements. This is what I back today.

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Alok Mittal, Canaan Partners
Alok Mittal40% of our business in the US comes from repeat entrepreneurs. People who have worked with us before like the experience. This implies that the larger part comes from people who are first time entrepreneurs.

And we're very open to backing first time entrepreneurs in the Indian context. Here you see more first time entrepreneurs than in the West simply because the whole model of building a fast-growing enterprise and then exiting is fairly new.

Avnish Bajaj, Matrix Partners:
Avnish BajajI was a first time entrepreneur when I got funded by ChrysCapital. I don't think the issue is first time entrepreneurs. In fact, if you look at some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs, they are all first time entrepreneurs: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison.

Indeed, if you look at the track records of entrepreneurs who have succeeded in their first venture, they typically don't succeed after that.

In four Interactive, we backed two people and a business plan. One of those guys has been an entrepreneur before, but the other guy hasn't. The guy who has been an entrepreneur before, started his company in 99-2000 and didn't have a great experience, because by that time the bubble burst.

But we felt that they really knew what they were going to be doing about the market opportunity, so we backed them.

So yes, absolutely we would look to back first time entrepreneurs. I think it comes back to whether they have a track record of achievement in their lives. It doesn't have to be as an entrepreneur.

NOTE: Some of the comments may have been edited for clarity, without changing emphasis or meaning.