Editor’s Note: Semil Shah (@semil) is currently an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners and has been an official contributor to TechCrunch since January 2011.
“In the Studio” this week welcomes a guest who has started and built both bootstrapped and ventured-backed businesses, who has tirelessly helped and coached hundreds of founders and early-stage teams on everything from fundraising to marketing to customer acquisition (and more), all the while he builds his own business as a co-founder of a company many startups and web companies rely on for insights into their businesses.
I was a bit surprised Hiten Shah (no relation) agreed to come on TCTV. If you’re a founder or member of an early-stage team, there’s a very good chance that you’ve run into Hiten or requested to meet him, and there’s an equally good chance that he’s made the time for you. No one is keeping stats, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he tangibly helps over 100 companies and individuals per year through a variety of coaching techniques. This willingness to help has also given Hiten a rare glimpse into what many founders struggle with through the fundraising process, and while he doesn’t share his opinions quite so freely online, in this video, he is quite clear and to the point about the patterns he sees among investors as well as founders.
In this discusion, Hiten discusses his own experiences bootstrapping versus going for venture financing (he says it comes down to risk and market size), why he thinks so many founders focus on fundraising as a goal (it relates back to a certain movie), and how both entrepreneurs and investors have tendencies to move quickly into hot categories, resulting in violent competition and many types of fragmentation. If you’re in any part of the early-stage tech ecosystem, I’d go so far as to recommend this short video as a “must-watch.” Hiten not only has a strong base from which to view the early-stage world, but finally put into words — with no spin — what he actually sees.
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