Customer-funded, not crowd-funded, is the way to go

What role could entrepreneurs play in a nation's development? If you could talk about India specifically...

A couple of observations about the Indian business environment that I'd like to make... India is undergoing dramatic change in many ways. It has an emerging middle class, a rising GDP, increasing infrastructure and environmental challenges. What they add up to is that India needs to change for the future. India's entrepreneurs will have to step up to resolve these challenges. It is becoming quite clear that India's government will not solve these challenges. The problems are too deep and widespread for the government to be able to address the problems truly.

As India interacts with the world and vice versa, we are trying to understand what are the nitty-gritty of this interaction on a day-to-day basis.

You have spoken about entrepreneurs opting for the "customer-funded" route over the "investor-funded" one in your book. Could you elaborate?

I've been researching for the past year at the London School of Business about companies that are raising their funds from their customers rather than through angels or venture capitalists. We have examples of companies that have got their customers to fund their businesses until they got to some proof points. And once you've reached certain proof points and have created something that has customer traction, it also becomes much simpler to raise capital. You've proven that there is a real business out there and growth can be fast tracked with capital infusion.

Everyone asks if customer-funded is the same as crowd-funded. It is not. There is a very distinctive line that separates the two.

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