Sunday, October 28, 2007

How to start a startup from nothing

Enough is enough.

I refuse to work to make Larry Ellison or Ivan Seidenberg any richer, I refuse to do mundane stuff day in and day out, I refuse to come down to a place called office and spend the requisite 8 hours every day just because I have to, I refuse to work on things that don't interest me, I refuse to be guided by PHB's (Point Haired Bosses) anymore, I refuse to attend meetings that I don't have to, I refuse to convince my superiors about the need for a good development infrastructure to turn out good work.

I want to start a tech startup of my own, I have some ideas and know a couple of friends who think alike who would chip in. I am broke (well, nearly) and that's perhaps the only reason that keeps me stuck to my full-time day job. Also, am in India (Bangalore/Chennai to be specific) which is not exactly a startup hub even though a lot of startups are trying to make it big in India these days. Still, it's not Bay Area with an air that is friendly to startups and a bunch of like minded people.

I am clueless on where to start. I do have some ideas but I tend to believe the execution counts much more than ideas ever will, especially so in case of a startup. What will readers suggest ?

Should I approach a VC with a prototype and a business plan or should I apply to Y Combinator and keep my fingers crossed. Do VC's in the Bay Area (and US in general) fund ventures outside the continent ? I know Y Combinator wants their startups to relocate to the valley but for someone sitting in India, this is a proper pain because the way US Immigration laws are structured makes the whole process too lengthy and cumbersome.

There is no quick legal way for someone hoping to start a company in the US to do all the paperwork, get the necessary approvals/stampings and get rolling in any reasonable amount of time. Startup progress is measured in weeks and delays of more than a couple of months doing legal/immigration hula hoops could ring the death knell for a startup even before they get started. I am wondering if the Immigration laws are designed in a way such that a non American will have considerable difficulty starting a tech startup in the US (in order to provide a competitive advantage to companies started by Americans).

I hope am wrong, I hope I can still figure out a way to go and start a company, I hope I can be my own boss and work on things that I am passionate about.