Veni, Vidi, VC

Recently there was a news feature in a business publication about how a venture capitalist made several crores of rupees in a very short time, and reading it, I, like most right-thinking persons, was totally impressed by that success story and hoped that the venture capitalist would get live a long life during which he can be totally laid low by leprosy and zika.

Let us face it, nobody really likes successful venture capitalists because they make way too much money in a year than many of us can in our entire careers. Yet the fact is, given a chance, many of us would want to be a venture capitalist and earn in millions and be the guy who stylishly saunters off at fancy restaurants without waiting for the balance amount after paying the bill. Some of us also don’t wait for the waiter to return, but that is because we don’t have anything left in our wallet to tip him.

For an outsider, the life of a venture capitalist may seem flashy with meetings at ritzy hotels and fun evenings that involve a lot of liquor. This is a huge misconception. A venture capitalist’s professional life also has mornings that involve liquor.

The good news for you is that becoming a venture capitalist is not all that difficult. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t even need to know the meaning of words like ‘fiduciary’. All you need is smart observational skills, basic management ideas, yen for business adventure, eye for innovation and a truckload of money from your father. Okay, just kidding. No venture capitalist ever uses his dad’s money. Venture capitalism is basically risk-taking with money that is not yours.

As a venture capitalist your job is to identify interesting and promising business ideas and help fund them. And if the business makes profit, you take a healthy percentage. If the business makes a loss, you still take the same percentage and move to Mumbai.

On the face of it, venture capital operations may seem to involve a lot of guessing and making decisions based on hunches. But far from it, it is a field that is strongly dependent on hard facts and figures, which, of course, can be totally made up.

Once you set up shop, you will come across a lot of promising ideas and pioneering business plans across fields. Your job as a venture capitalist would be to evaluate them carefully and then avoid them totally. No venture capitalist in the history of venture capitalism has ever invested in stuff that are intrinsically useful to humankind at a practical plane.

So the one knack that you will have to have as a venture capitalist these days is to figure out what people require as lay consumers, especially in the field of every-day technology, mostly in the form of some app. This field is popular among venture capitalists as it offers plenty of scope for —- pardon me, as I get a little technical here — bull-shitting. Exhibit A: The app ‘Yo’. The app’s function is — get ready for some action — to say ‘yo’ as a text or audio notification.  Nothing more. Nothing less. Mind you, somebody thought it to fit to fund this.

But you must still stay with apps and look for unconventional ideas. If you don’t find any, you yourself can helpfully suggest some to app-makers. Thinking up apps isn’t all that difficult. Just put yourself in the shoes of a lay smartphone user. Ask yourself this basic question: What app would you like in the given circumstances? If you are a married male, you will look for an app that will somehow handle, in your voice, calls from your spouse. Okay, that is a lazy attempt at a gender stereotypical joke.

The app that not you but we all could actually do with is one that can, the moment yet another forward lands on our WhatsApp timeline, helpfully tell us stuff like:

“‘Don’t open. This contains that stale Sardar joke doing the rounds since the Charan Singh administration”.

“Delete it. This is just a pic of Goundamani/Vadivelu/Santhanam laughing/crying/acting smarty pants’

“Avoid it. They seem too big. Looks totally photoshopped

Or better still, it must auto-respond with replies like: “Chill dude, if that is NASA pic of India on Deepavali day then I am Emma Stone’s boyfriend”.

Or from time to time send to that uncle in the colony WhatsApp group prank messages like this: “Unesco just chose Unesco as the best Unesco ever”.

Such a killer app is what the society actually needs and if someone can get down to making it, you as a venture capitalist must immediately fund the project. I would also like to tell you how this app will make money, and where you will get the funds for your venture capital firm, but right now I need to go and check out what those bunch of videos forwarded on our gym friends’ WhatsApp group are.