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Delink Business Failure From Entrepreneur: Nandan Nilekani

India needs a social fabric that does not equate the failure of a business with the person, which unfortunately in a market like India get clubbed together and leads to consequences, said Nandan Nilekani, current chairman of Infosys and also an investor in startups. Nilekani was speaking at a fireside session in Bengaluru along with renowned venture capital investor Vinod Khosla.

While Nilekani was not addressing a direct question on V G Siddhartha, his comments come at a time when India Inc has been talking about how the suicide of the Cafe Coffee Day founder could impact entrepreneurship in the country.

“You need a social fabric which delinks the failure from the person, which actually recognises that failure is a tremendous experience, which is actually likely to increase the probability of success next time. Here, I think the failure, the person and institution all get entwined and that leads to consequences,” said Nilekani on a question about how entrepreneurs and investors should evaluate risk at new companies and why accepting failure has not taken root here, unlike Silicon Valley.

Nilekani and Siddhartha knew each other well as the latter helped take Infosys public. Nilekani, in turn, is also a shareholder in the listed Coffee Day Enterprises with about a 2.6% holding.

Khosla, whose firms’ recent successes include payments startup Stripe and delivery venture DoorDash, also said that investors are not necessarily very risk-taking and they also want to bet on companies where they can predict returns. “Most investors reduce risk to the point where the probability of success is high but where the consequences of success are inconsequential. It’s a perfectly good way to get predictable rates of return,” said Khosla. He also announced a $2-million investment by Khosla Ventures in Veri5Digital, one of the largest authenticating agencies for digital identifications like Aadhaar and PAN in India.―Times of India

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