As a first time entrepreneur you face a daunting task when it comes to actually getting your new venture of the ground. You might have a great idea, but you know that it takes a whole lot more than that to be successful.
In those very formative times you need to be patient, idea gestation and team formation just take time, rush it and you’ll risk betting your future on a half-baked idea or a half-committed team. It’s hard to emphasize how important both of these aspects are for a startup, a great idea without a committed team will remain just a great idea. A great team with a half-baked idea, arguably may still be successful long term, but will waste a lot of time an energy and jeopardize their success by heading off in the wrong direction.
I give all credit for this process to Manish Chandra, my business partner and then CEO of Kaboodle. You see when Manish had the initial inspiration for Kaboodle back in early 2004 he didn’t just sit on it, after he kicked it around and bounced it off a few friends over a month or two he built enough internal belief in the idea that he decided to take it a step further and importantly took action. As a first time entrepreneur he decided the best way to vet the idea and begin to form a team was to pull together a dozen or so people over the ensuing months who were intrigued enough by the idea to meet each week for a few hours on a Saturday morning at his house, in what he called his ‘Kitchen Cabinet’.
While drinking chai tea on a Saturday morning, open discussions led to many viewpoints and insights being shared, the idea was vetted and refined so that it was no longer just Manish championing it. Going back to the 6 needs of a startup, Manish was addressing the first need, the need for co-creation.
Different people came and went, not everyone turned up every Saturday, not everyone shared the same passion or interest in the idea, but as time evolved Manish was able to identify not just his potential co-founders (myself included), but also those who were willing to commit time and energy to get the venture moving, even if they couldn’t ultimately join fulltime.
Appropriate NDAs, IP assignment and advisor agreements protected the business and also ensured that should the venture have a successful outcome, which it did, those individuals that put-out at that early stage were rewarded for their energy.
Finally, going back to the second need of a startup, it came down to Manish to have the courage and conviction that the idea was viable, the team was viable and ultimately to make the decision to start Kaboodle with myself and Chetan Pungalyia…and that’s when Kaboodle, or Chaboodle Labs as it was back then, became real.
It took over nine months from initial idea to the point when all three of us had quit our jobs and were committed full-time. From a dozen or more people who had been involved in the process it had been whittled down to three. So as you see, it takes time, but time well spent!