Interview with The Signal

I spoke to Dinesh Narayanan, co-founder and editor of The Signal. An excerpt:

Dinesh: Rajesh, what made you write Startup To Proficorn?

Rajesh: So, Dinesh, conventional wisdom is that the only way to really build a business is to go out and raise venture capital. Venture capital, angel, money, whatever it is. The reality today is that 99.9% of businesses are self-funded. You know, you look at the kirana store, you look at very small startups, they’re not raising capital.

The challenge for a lot of these bootstrapped startups, which are private, is essentially: how do they scale? And that’s the problem I try to address in the book, how can you build what I call a proficorn. So it’s private, it is bootstrapped, it is profitable, and most importantly, it’s highly valuable. And I define “highly valuable” as a valuation in excess of $100 million, because if you look at a unicorn, which is typically $1 billion, founders end up owning 10% of the company.

And if you do that with a proficon, which is valued at $100 million, it’s pretty much the same outcome for the founder. That’s the core message, that you can actually have an alternate approach to building the business where the founder is in greater control, there’s a lot of freedom. And you can build valuable large businesses. I’ve done it twice.


The full interview is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.