Friday, April 29, 2011

Doing Two Tech Startups

What is better than doing one tech startup? Doing two tech startups.

So I am doing two tech startups. And the newer startup is actually moving faster. But there is symbiosis.

My new startup is B2B social networking. We have global ambitions, but for now we are thinking Kathmandu and NYC. You do well small, and then you can scale. Part of the plan is to help globally minded companies in Nepal to match up with global investors. And take a cut.

So this is still finance, just not microfinance.
Stone carvings, called Chaityas, seen even in ...Image via Wikipedia
But my microfinance outfit remains my primary occupation. I feel passionate about the poverty issue. I firmly believe poverty can be cured. Like polio could be cured. And I am not taking my eyes off.

But with this second startup I already have a 50 strong tech team in Kathmandu. And I can tap into that pool for my microfinance startup any time I want. Technically speaking I can get tech work done on my microfinance startup for, literally, free.

Kiva Is In Nepal
Just Became A Cofounder

With the new startup I am much more open to giving away equity, although I personally start with 50% ownership. I am much more open to taking in investments the traditional way. But with my microfinance startup I intend to invent the very idea of what a corporation is. There the idea of giving away equity makes me sick in the stomach. I am going to keep a big chunk of equity for the team, as it gels over years. The day the company goes IPO I would want to still be able to offer equity to top talent like we were a startup just starting out.

For me equity is about power more than wealth. Ultimately I intend to give away most of my wealth. But equity gives me power to run the company, to grow the company, to do good work, to reinvent the very idea of a corporation. In keeping equity I am laying claim to my workspace. My workspace is mine.

It is exciting. My second startup has quickened the pace for me. Work is on. Stay tuned. We have put out a very basic product. But much work is being done as we speak.

Nepal is also going to be the first country I go into with my microfinance startup. So having Kathmandu as my base for my second startup helps me cultivate the terrain further.

But with microfinance I am going to start in Janakpur, my hometown, not Kathmandu.
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