Why starting up after college is sexy
Nasscom reports that maximum founders (72%) in India are below 35 and the average age of startup founders being 28, India is claimed to be the youngest founder’s nation.
Although there is no best age for launching a startup (Am I too old to be an entrepreneur?) but launching it right after your college has some pros, though cons follow. This article does not say that starting up right after your college will give you success. Success is a path, a journey, and a never-ending one. The only difference that starting up after college will make as against taking up a 9-5 job is the learning curve. We have some famous names that chose to have a startup over completing studies or taking up a regular job, like Ritesh Agarwal (Oyo) and Rahul Yadav (Housing). Let us now explore the pros and cons of starting up early. For a better understanding I would request the readers to go through all the articles, I have linked, that will give you a bigger picture of the matter.
Advantages of starting up after college:
The single thing that investors value a lot is your” Team”. They bet their money, not on the company, its scalability, profitability or even idea, but the Team. Paul Graham says, “What matters is not the ideas, but the people who have them. Good people can fix bad ideas, but good ideas cant save bad people.”
A survey of around 100 startups by CB Insights reveals, “Not the Right Team” being the second most reason of startup failure.
Colleges are the goldmine of crude talent. Not just you have a pool of talent to choose from; you can also check your chemistry with them, which is again very crucial. People with good ideas are hunting for compatible cofounders, and when you are in a college, you have multiple options to choose from. There is nothing great than having cofounders with commendable experience and academic brands attached to their names.
Paul Graham, the founder of Y-Combinator says–“It is no coincidence that startups start around universities because that’s where smart people meet.” He went on to saying starting up right after college to be the ideal age for a startup. Many a times you tend to collaborate with students for some project and you never know that project may grow up into a startup.
That is the age when you are bubbling with ideas, most of you are not happy the way things are done, and want to mark a dent on society with your capabilities. All that energy if channelized well could lead into a great venture.
Many of you must not be having good ideas on which you can bet your life and thus waiting for the apple to fall on your head. Guys! Ideas are a dime a dozen, they are plenty and free (Subscribe for a free copy of “Five startup ideas that can be done with a job”) also read, “is there any good startup idea that is left to be implemented”. I am sure you will get your queries answer after reading these two articles.
Having a startup is like a roller coaster ride that is more enjoyable in a friends company. Few things might make you feel high and the next morning you might wake up in a mess where shit has hit the fan and people have started packing up their bags and you along with your friend- the only ones rolling up your sleeves to clean the house. At that point, it’s the friendship factor that differentiates how your cofounder would behave. There are very high chances that you both play the blame game for hours but equally high are the chance of things getting resolved after a glass of whisky.
One of the major reasons that startups fail is the dispute. If your co-founder is your friend, and if you share the kind of relation where you can ask him to do your utensils while you are fixing a bug, believe me, guys, you can increase the chances of your startup’s survival.
Less to Lose:
As we climb the ladder of life responsibilities increases manifold. A very old and popular saying- once you start earning you stops learning. One tends to become complacent and the glamorous side of life start attracting you- having a family, children. That’s a trap! And we can have a separate article about it. But my personal advice is to explore all the possibilities of experiments you can do with your career before getting married. Though, with age you gain maturity, which is one of the most important ingredients of startup recipe but waiting for the maturity to shower on you has its own cons.
as throughout the article I have been emphasizing on the pros of starting up early, and that too with your friends company, but a practical question that pops up is How will you manage the finances? It is imperative to chalk out the detailed financial requirements both personal and professional.
Professional includes your initial cost of launching the startup, fixed costs including employee’s salary; overheads, your cash burn rate, etc.
Planning personal finance is equally important because there is a very thin line between your professional and personal fund and in no time, you might understand that there is nothing like a personal fund.
Have you planned for the time by which you would raise funds for your startup? Buddy, be prepared to face a delay and don’t think that things will happen as you have planned. You may control your cash burn but not the time when you get funding. Keep a buffer of at least a year’s time.
Coming back to how will you manage finance- I can suggest three options (also read Types of Startup Investors to understand the different types of investors and also read What investors look for in a startup before investing):
- Either ask your family or rich friends to fund your startup. Family is a low hanging fruit but this option has its cons.
- Or you may approach angel investors and share some equity in exchange for cash.(Read: Startup Investment Journey from Zero to Billionaire for details about how much equity you should offer in exchange of what amount at what stage of funding.)
- If you are not lucky enough to leverage the above two sources and have no savings of yours, then you may plan your startup along with a corporate job that will keep flushing money into your venture. Read How to launch a startup with job
Experience and maturity:
Although job experience is not a replacement of startup experience, but there are many takeaways, which might help you setting up your venture, which includes savings, contacts, learning and experience. To have the experience for launching a startup one will have to launch one. As said, maturity comes with time, age, and experience and so it is not advisable to wait for it.
Work Life Balance:
If you are aiming for a work life balance (Read: five Advices on Work-Life-Balance by Nigel Marsh) then a startup is certainly not the option for you. Be prepared to face the most challenging phase of your life where you might find only work and no life. You would be working not 9-5 but 24×7. Yes, this 7 includes your dearie Saturday and Sundays. You may have to cut short not just your expenses but sleep time, entertainment time and, of course, your girlfriend might bid you an adieu. Be ready to wear multiple hats, do the work you hate the most.
But if you are really enthusiastic, none of the above-mentioned things will bother you at all. If this is the case, then I would say go ahead! With some ups and downs, things will fall into place. If you believe your idea is a billion dollar one give it a try.
Please share your comments, queries and what is your take on the starting up early, in the comments section.
pic source :freepik