startup india

'Flipkart was the most foolish': Watch tech investor Kanwal Rekhi flame India's start-ups

An Indian-American pioneer of venture capital paints a less-than-happy picture.

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Early in December 2016, e-commerce website Flipkart’s valuation dropped from a high of $15.5 billion to $5.5 billion. A failure to agree on valuation led to many funding deals to fall through.

In October of 2016, reports suggested that Flipkart’s marketing chairman Sachin Bansal wanted to form a lobby group that would represent the interests of Indian startups by seeking favourable laws for themselves, as opposed to US and Chinese companies. In fiscal 2016, Flipkart posted a loss of Rs 2,306 crore despite a revenue growth of 140%, yet as the company was bleeding, top employees were compensated to the tune of Rs 300 crore.

The last point is what Indian-American angel investor and entrepreneur Kanwal Rekhi, who is credited as being the “first Indian-American founder & CEO to take a venture-backed company public on the NASDAQ”, cites to heavily criticise the e-commerce giant in an interview to Entrepreneur.

“Flipkart was the biggest and most foolish [Indian startup],” Rekhi says in the video above. “Flipkart was hiring people, paying them Rs 2 crore, Rs 3 crore, Rs 4 crore salaries, they were selling products below their cost, they had no business models, and it is the venture capitalists who were encouraging them to waste their money, they caused it as well, not just the entrepreneurs.”

“The founders of Flipkart and Ola were selling their own shares in secondary markets,” begins Rekhi explaining, why he knew the startups were “doomed to fail from day one”. “And they were diversifying away from their own companies. They were telling me that did not believe in their own companies. They knew their company best and they were selling those shares so these are not the entrepreneurs that everybody should look up to.”

Rekhi also talks about why government safety nets for businesses isn’t a good idea. In using them, he asserts, companies will give away their freedoms and the domestic marketplace will become like China’s.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.