Podcast on soundcloud
An interview I did with BV at FalconX incubator-accelerator facility in Milpitas. Link to podcast.
When I asked BV Sir, “Who is BV Jagadeesh?”, he said, “I am a dreamer, I am a realist, hardworking and here to make a difference”. Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates, calls this breed of charismatic people as “Shapers”, people who can turn their dream or vision into a reality, but how?
Not only by being dreamers but also being quick learning realists, who can zoom out into the big picture of things; get into a lot of detail when required and most importantly hard working, and genuinely caring about their team and team members. Without doubt alongside Bill Gates, Marc Benioff, Elon Musk, I would like to add another name: BV Jagadeesh.
In silicon valley and most parts of India, this name needs no introduction. After his mega-success as a serial entrepreneur ( at Exodus Communications he successfully helped the company grow from start-up, instrumental in leading its highly successful initial public offering (IPO), served as President and CEO, NetScaler), and an angel investor, BV has now turned to social impact and supporting over half a dozen causes in education, food, affordable healthcare and more. He has successfully invested and guided companies such as Nutanix (IPO), Yodlee (IPO), Arkin (acqd: VMWare), Elastic Box (acqd: Century Link), NetMagic Solutions (acqd: NTT), Ocarina Networks (acqd: Dell) and Ankeena (acqd: Juniper) to name a few.
His advice to entrepreneurs before giving up on their startup is to give it their 200%, try to engage fully with prospective customers, reposition products to achieve product-market fit, etc. To him, entrepreneurship is more about risk mitigation and planning than risk-taking. When leaders walk the talk, leadership is impactful and well-received!
After a high emphasis on a people-centric approach to innovation and entrepreneurship, I could, at multiple instances, see him genuinely care about his team and inspire them to push themselves to the next level. He has in the past himself spent several months matching values with his co-founders to find out if they would get along; how many of us spend time evaluating our co-founders once we have found that magic idea? and found our calling!
Should you or should you not keep your day job when you approach a venture capitalist, and why is it that venture capitalists ask for market scale when they fund your company? in his podcast, he covers all this and more..
In the podcast, he talks about his tough upbringing, where, as a 10-year-old in eighth grade, he was living by himself with his brothers, and away from his humble abode, a village called Bagaluru which back then had no higher education centers. As he moved to Bengaluru while growing up, in his own small ecosystem, he was unknowingly shaping himself up for the big challenges in innovation to come. At ten years of age, he was already doing daily drills in negotiation, learning to save money, staying calm and humble during simple transactions and be well informed about market pricing as part of managing his small budget. This exercise as a child, in learning to survive independently in a big city like Bengaluru, took him very far in his future as he experienced the ebbs and flows of the series of his massive entrepreneurial, investment and non-profit ventures.
Writing about his contributions will take me several blogs dedicated each, to his role as a founder, investor, mentor and advisor to startups, his philanthropic initiatives as an overseas investor, his work in catalyzing scientific research and education, in feeding and educating the underprivileged, his eclectic interests spanning art, philosophy, entertainment, media and more. However, I decided to stay focused on entrepreneurship and get a sense of BV as a startup coach and advisor. This led me to one of his latest ventures, the FalconX incubator-accelerator which he has co-founded, and co-advises alongside eight other competent silicon valley entrepreneurs who have witnessed successful exits and explored cross-border B2B startup space extensively.
I was escorted at the FalconX facility by one of the co-founders, the very charismatic Murali Chirala (video footage below) and here is what he had to say about the next generation, cross-border B2B startups housed in a very inclusive, multicultural and high technology space covering governance, enterprise software, and many more.
I also ran into one of the startup founders, ex-Googler, Varun Talwar from Tetrate (in the microservices space) who fondly remembered how BV, during their first meeting, looked straight in his eyes and said if he is willing to last in this startup journey, he would invest in him. That is the kind of person BV is, he believes in people and invests in them and nurtures wholeheartedly.
BV and his close counterpart Raju Reddy foresaw quite early on that the next big billion-dollar startup would emerge from outside the silicon valley and called them billion-dollar babies. BV along with Raju Reddy, another senior silicon valley investor-mentor-entrepreneur, decided to float FalconX, a cross border incubator-accelerator for B2B startups to develop the billion-dollar babies’ inspired ecosystem for founders here.
I was fortunate enough to attend an informative panel at the facility, moderated by Raju Reddy, also one of the co-founders of FalconX, and an industry veteran. Here are a few ideas which were discussed:
My time and interaction with FalconX was truly enlightening and I can only imagine how well nurtured the 46 cross-border startups housed here are, and also receiving competent advice from the senior executive team at FalconX. There were lots of discussions post-panel where founders were interacting with the panelists and mentors from FalconX seeking advice on how to manage their funding, and plan roadmap for their startup or team, and more. I was happy to see many enthusiastic women innovators as well. Check out more about what are the pre-requisites (e.g., you must have raised pre-seed funding 0.5 million dollars, even sweat capital wot $0.5 mil. is considered okay) to become part of the FalconX ecosystem in the video footage below showcasing Murali Chirala, CEO-FalconX.
BV Jagadeesh is not only catalyzing meaningful entrepreneurship with his initiatives in social entrepreneurship hitting core issues in policy for startups, but also in education, healthcare, and betterment of the emerging market entrepreneurs and the innovation ecosystem as a whole. It was indeed a pleasure and honor to interact with him and his enterprising team. Here is the link to Podcast covering BV Jagadeesh’s interview.
I would like to thank the FalconX team Murali, Lochan, Sailaja and Raju for supporting me in putting together parts of this blog, video and podcast series.