Mentor‐Backed Entrepreneurship in India

Sravish Sridhar 

Sravish was the founder and CEO of Kinvey, a company that participated in the Techstars Boston 2011 accelerator. He is currently an active angel investor and mentor to numerous founders all over the world.

Founders who believe that they are building companies in massive markets with a potential to grow very quickly often aspire to become “venture‐backed startups.” Although venture capital could be an important tool to facilitate growth, I believe that it is far more impactful if founders successfully surround themselves with mentors who can help and support them in other ways. What startups really need is a mentor committed to helping them build a “mentor‐backed startup.”

I have had impactful mentors in my life from a young age. I was born and grew up in India. I moved to the United States as an 18‐year‐old to pursue an undergraduate education, and I’ve now lived my entire adult life in the United States and in Europe. In fact, I have lived more of my life outside India now. Even though my core values continue to be based on what I’ve learned from my family, my schooling, and various facets of Indian culture, my outlook and attitude in my professional life have become more western than Indian. I’m not saying that one is necessarily better than the other—they are just different.

These significant differences between India and the United States in professional interactions are even more pronounced in mentor relationships. ...

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