Pratham Mittal - Co-founder of VenturePact

Talk to people about your business, try different messaging and always be open to feedback. You will learn something new every time.

Pratham Mittal is the co-founder of VenturePact, a marketplace that helps businesses find and engage with prescreened software development firms.

Where did the idea for VenturePact come from?

Initially, when we were working as developers, we found that many customers came to us because they had had a bad experience with outsourcing before and now wanted us to “clean up”. We saw that the industry suffered from major information asymmetry, because of which companies often ended up working with the wrong developers. We realized that by creating a trust network of vetted developers and providing transparent portfolios up front would really help companies select the right developer, much like how yelp helps you select the best restaurants.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I try to make a to do list for the next day before sleeping. This helps me get to work straight away the next morning and keep my day organized. I also usually try to triage the tasks in terms of importance and urgency, so I know what to prioritize. As a cofounder, I spend 30% of my time managing the team and the current projects, 30% in business calls or meetings, 20% in research and exploration and 20% on doing other operational work.

How do you bring ideas to life?

As soon as I think of an idea, I write it down (or draw it). Thereafter, I either share it with the concerned team member or put it in my to-do list. Once its there, I know I won’t forget about it and I usually get to it sooner or later depending on the urgency.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I think in a few years, the office, as we know it will become irrelevant. More and more companies are embracing remote work and recruiting the best talent, no matter where they are located. This will open new doors when it comes to recruiting and building your team.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I try to delegate most of the work and ensure accountability rather than do it myself. I know that most of the work that I delegate will probably take me less time to finish, but I need to spend time thinking higher level which will be very difficult if I am fixated on the nitty gritties.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I have almost always worked for myself. But one time in college, I started a company because I felt I could flip it quickly. It was not something that I was truly excited about and clearly pursuing it for the wrong reason. Slowly, I lost interest and wasn’t able to focus as much. I realized that startups are hard and you better live it if you want to be successful- something you cannot do for something that you don’t care about from deep within.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Take care of my health. It is one of those things that people usually ignore when they are starting up. However, it is important to realize that without a healthily body, you will not be as productive. Stay healthy for your work, if not for yourself.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Talk to people about your business, try different messaging and always be open to feedback. You will learn something new every time.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Read about things beyond your industry and target market. I get my most innovative ideas by drawing parallels between completely unrelated things. Some of my best ideas have some from me reading political journals.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

In my previous startup, I spent way too much time building the product and launched it very late. By then, the team had lost their motivation and we had received no feedback whatsoever. This led to a substandard product that we ended up rebuilding all over again.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A mobile app that lets people invest fake money in startups and track their portfolio’s performance. This can become very addicting.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I just bought a subscription for Mixergy interviews. They are in depth interviews with entrepreneurs where they talk about challenge and how they overcame them. Its not like a commercial TV interview as they go into quite a bit of detail about their strategies and their rationales behind them.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I love using Asana as it helps me coordinate with my team. Its extremely versatile and can be used to track anything ranging from software development commits to weekly goals to sales pipelines.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Innovator Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. It compares companies’ histories to identify patterns that differentiate successful legendary companies from not so successful competitors in the same market at the same time. It is one of the only business books that is also very data oriented, so it makes for a very good read.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Fred Wilson:

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