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Sukanta Ganguly

Sukanta Ganguly

CTO, QuickPay Corporation
San Jose

About Me

I am a serial entrepreneur and an angel investor. I have built multiple companies focusing on technologies that range from enterprise software to consumer software. I have a doctorate in Engineering and an MBA in Finance. I was born and brought up in Mumbai, India to a small and hard working family, father worked hard all his professional career and mother taught me to be resilient, hardworking and never give up. I live in the Silicon Valley, have a great supporting, smart, technical and hard working wife (Mrs. Moushumi Ganguly), whose support got me from nowhere to where I am today. Have two daughters (Priya, my older child and Sonya, my younger child) who are very smart and academically great. They are learning to be an entrepreneur.

Investment Strategy

I invest in smart people. I understand and have experience with many technologies and business environment hence it is a little easy to see businesses that may make sense. I invest in companies at a very early stage, generally at seed level. I also invest with other investors work with the start up that I invest in quite closely where they need help. Building a startup is hard work and a lot of help and guidance is required to steer it to states of success. I try to help and bring the right kind of resources in helping the businesses that I get involved with. Sometimes I take a board sit and sometimes an advisory board sits.

Portfolio Companies

The companies I have invested in are funvity, replybuy, theIceBreak, enole, reble.fm, tagle.it, blacksmithcapital, cariden, coaxialnetworks, brainnook, Cull.tv
All the investments have been due to folks that I trust having the tenacity of building great companies. I also focus on the business opportunity and the market. I have a strong industry network and hence try to validate the business and technology differentiation that it builds out.

My Criteria for Investing in Startups

I always look at the team first. A very good team can build a great business. The idea comes next. It has to be rooted in a need. The scale of need provides some determination of how big the business can be. Business and the market focus is a strong factor for success, but determination and tenacity of the team can make it big.

Attributes I Look for in an Entrepreneur
An entrepreneur is one who has one vision for success and stays the course. It is very hard work for be a founder and build a business and hence the determination to win is key. One who cannot be deterred by any level of difficulty.
I look for a founder who understands what it takes to bring a team together to build a company. A company is build by a team and a successful entrepreneur/founder will always remember that. Strong level of ethics and mutual respect is a strong characteristic of a successful entrepreneur.
Common Mistakes Startups Make and How to Avoid Them
Never get in your head that you know too much. That is a single biggest mistake that some make. Your market is always smarter than you. You need to have the characteristics of listening to what your market and customer is telling you. Customer is always right and market will tell you what it wants. As an entrepreneur, always be humble. Second most important mistake entrepreneurs make is try to solve a complicated problem all at once. The best solutions are simple and easy. Human minds do very well by decomposing bigger problems into smaller components and solving the smaller problems at a time. Do not over engineer a product. Let the market tell you exactly what it wants and give it exactly what it wants and you will win.
Most Popular Types of Businesses in India at the Moment
Consumer software has evolved over the last six/seven years and the enterprise software has been languishing for almost a decade. Take the learning from the consumer technology space and apply them to solving enterprise problems. Try to understand the market that you want to build solution for. Live the pain to address the pain points. India has a tremendous opportunity where the business world needs innovative solution. It will probably grow to be a much faster software consumer in the next two decades. Small to medium business is probably the biggest bandwidth to focus on. Understand what it means to be customer service driven.
Thoughts on First Angel, Follow-on Investments and Offerings to an Angel Investor
I like to be the first angel and most of the time I am. I do reserve money for follow-on investments. I do bring in other angels to help in the business and investment side. The percentage of startup that an angel gets depends on the value that he brings. A good angel is as valuable as the founder hence good ones always get a good share. Board seat depends on the situation. I do take a board seat when I have to and depend on my level of engagement.
Building a startup is hard job. It is not about lines of code, it is business. Deep thinking and strong knowledge are the keys.

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