From Copywriting to leading Channel V, India’s Best seed Fund and the Space Race
Mahesh Murthy(@maheshmurthy) is a well known name with most entrepreneurs who started up in India between 2000 and 2012. A little background to the name is that fact that Mahesh went from being a copywriter in Silicon Valley to founding India’s popular Seed Funds. Listen to Mahesh from Seed Fund, journey from copywriting to leading Channel V, India’s Best seed Fund and the Space Race
Mahesh from Seed Fund helped Jeff Bezos with the “Everything Store” campaign, led Channel V and then eventually founded Seed Fund, one of India’s best-known seed funds that funded storied names such as Red Bus, Chumbak, Carwale, Voonik etc. Both of his Seed Funds won the best fund award, a rare feat. After having funded some of India’s storied startups and after seeing good exits, Mahesh is now trying his hand at Space, a new and exciting frontier.
In this episode, he shares his wisdom on what makes ventures work. The strategies that entrepreneurs need to employ and what the space race is all about. He knows a thing or two about scaling startups and should we add that the episode is full of rare insights and pointers on how to make your venture tick, succeed and scale. A must listen!
Here are some interesting snippets from the conversation
Jeff had already launched Amazon. It was interesting that I remember I put my hands up. I was on the board for an advertising and marketing firm based in Silicon Valley. In those days B2B was everything and everybody frowned upon B2C . 1995-96 seems like twenty five years ago a huge amount of time. But I said, Hey, you know what? I wrote to them and Jeff said, Okay, come up for a meeting he was in Seattle, I remember going to his office, small office with six, seven people working there. He was sitting at a small table. His table was a desk which was a used door. And decided to launch Amazon and we said lets get started doing the branding. We had two battles there. We won one and lost one.
Amazon was not the first book store in the world and Facebook wasn’t the first social network and Google wasn’t the first search engine, there’s not really a first not first mover advantage in any of these cases. As long as you are in the early cohort, you know, you keep looking at what others are doing, you can actually start shaping that daily and creating something that didn’t exist.
Mahesh’s Channel V Days
I really loved my time at channel V, because it was completely new and different for me. I came from the US where I was in an advertisement firm and later on in an e-commerce firm building ecommerce product to a point where I was actually sitting with musicians figuring out what kind of music to play for what time of day – who watches the TV at 2 at night, who watches the TV at 2 at the afternoon and who watches it at 9 pm and figuring out what programming I could do for them at different times of day, weekends and how I could maximize revenue from that.
First fund was called Passion Fund. It was actually only my money but not a huge amount of it. It was bare; not even a million dollars. Some money, I came back to India with, back from the US etc, and it was real learning on how to do angel investing – putting money in companies making terrible mistakes, learning later on what I should have done what I should not have done so it was kind of my MBA and how to run a venture fund with my own money
I’ve been investing in India since 1999, so I have been here a while, may be 20-21 years. Things are changing. But the more things change, the one thing that remains the same is that the innovation breaks through. Every time somebody writes a playbook and follows it. You will eventually find out that, you know, you may follow it but that company really didn’t end up anywhere doing very much.
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Some of the storied names he has been associated with
Don’t forget to catch some buzz words through the episode
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