A few weeks back, Sequoia India released the news that created ripples in the startup industry. As part of the Surge, they had selected 17 companies out of thousands across Asia and India.
Hippo Video was one of them. We were overwhelmed by the news and the wishes that poured in. But, with great VCs backing us, comes great responsibility. Now that the euphoria has died down, the opportunity that we have & the challenges we face in the road ahead is finally sinking in. With this in mind, I thought of reflecting on the Surge program so far.
Our expectation going into Surge was, of course, looking to explore Sequoia India’s extensive experience and portfolio. But Surge also had a definitive motto. As Shailendra so eloquently puts it, “Surge is not for Sequoia. It is for Founders and is Founder focused..” To put it in two words my reply to this statement was a “BIG YES.”
The Big Surprise
We hardly expected what Surge had in store for us. They got the founders of Unicorns and Decacorns to interact with us directly. Visionaries like Humble William of Tokopedia, Intriguing Kunal of Cred and Freecharge, Inspiring Chatri of One Championship, Guru Gaurav of Unacademy, Phoenix Anand from Clevertap, and Yoda Rajan Anandan from Google to name a few who had flown down just to meet us. Listening to their stories about their success, failures and their never-ending hustle to succeed was truly inspiring. Not just that, other founders selected for Surge too shared their experiences. These candid chats really put what startups do in perspective. We are not here to only succeed at all costs. We are here to make a dent and improve people’s lives.
Key learnings for me – How to grow an organization with vision & values, How to define culture, hiring as strategy, etc. In fact, we can now write a 101 for Startups with these learnings, and we will do it one day.
Their welcoming nature was quite an icebreaker. Time and again when you hear from founders who have associated for more than a decade with Sequoia, you know you are here for the long haul. Their partners too rolled up their sleeves and participated actively for our active learning. Apart from the partners their rest of the team also – Roy, Pieter, Cris, Payal, Aakash, Prateek, Gina, Abhishek, etc. did an excellent job. Without their support and zeal, the program wouldn’t have been this great. Thanks a lot guys for creating an insightful and actionable program for founders like my team and me. Looking forward to the upcoming weeks.