12th October, 2020
We are living in tough times. The burgeoning human race is faced with existential challenges like being able to provide breathable air, drinkable water, clean energy, stable climate, food, healthcare, education, livelihood and factual news to ourselves.
At the same time, there is marvellous innovation happening all around us. We are all digitally connected/ getting connected. For the first time in human history, we are able to visualize reaching other planets, clean energy sources becoming economically viable, AI/ML-powered efficiencies, supercomputing-powered genome sequencing & healthcare, 3D printing of food, unprecedented agricultural efficiencies, tech-and-innovation-enabled provisioning of healthcare, education & financial services to all, and many such disruptions that are taking the challenges head-on.
In our career journeys of over 16 and 23 years respectively, we have contributed through leadership roles in over a dozen early-stage and growth-stage startups between the two of us, including ventures founded by us and those incubated by leading corporate groups. To all of these ventures, we have been passionately/emotionally attached, giving us deeper experiences than if we were not. We have experienced failures & successes alike and analysed what worked & what did not, at every step.
Likewise, we have also experienced the startup and scale-up journeys of other entrepreneurs close to us and, with them, analysed what worked & what did not.
There is one major problem that has been troubling us. The way entrepreneurial ventures are built today, the odds are heavily against them. If we look at the pre-funding stage of ventures, it’s a bottomless pit - there is not even a count of how many ventures fail. But even if we look at ventures that were able to raise external funding, data suggest that over 80% of them, too, ended up failing or not reaching their full potential. All of these were ventures that had passionately solved a real problem and worked incessantly for their innovation to scale massively.
Some say that none of these failures go in vain because the entire ecosystem learns through each failure. But we found that, mostly, these lessons are not truly/deeply learnt and structurally applied, esp. to growth-stage challenges of ventures.
While there is no easy formula for scale, we saw that there are a couple of common themes and patterns. We listed and validated them with over a hundred entrepreneurs and against the published data-points. This convinced us that we were thinking in the right direction and it may be worth creating a solution that could work across domains and greatly increase the probability & extent of success of innovative ventures.
Entrepreneurship is such a tough journey that, candidly, we had no intention of taking it up again. But the insight on the common problems faced by all entrepreneurs in scaling their deserving innovations, and the possibility of a structural solution, became so powerful that we had to get started on it.
A new vision was born. We named it 'VenEx'.
We do hope that, with the collaborative efforts of the startup ecosystem and evangelists across the globe, we are able to help unlock massive scale for the unprecedented innovation happening around us.
Come, join hands with us. We invite all entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, professionals, academicians and other stakeholders.
Pooja and Avinash