“I Had To Unlearn Everything I Learnt Over 21 Years of Corp Life” [Rajesh Sawhney on Building GSF]

Biggest learning is to unlearn everything that learnt over 21 years of corporate career building big businesses.
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Rajesh Sawhney is founder of GSF accelerator, which recently announced its first ever global batch. Given that a majority of startup accelerators in India are growing through an identity crisis, GSF has managed to think scale and is working towards that (still a long way to go).

Here is a short QnA with Rajesh Sawhney on lessons learned building the accelerator. Before GSF,  Rajesh  was president of Reliance Entertainment and prior to that, he played a key role in building Indiatimes.com.  Rajesh shares a few lesson learned building GSF accelerator.rajesh sawhney

As an entrepreneur, what has been your biggest learning building GSF?

Biggest learning is to unlearn everything that learnt over 21 years of  corporate career building big businesses. Working with startups requires an extremely agile mindset and yet infinite patience, which at times appear contradictory. One needs to be in a state of continuous and disruptive reinvention.

GSF has been interacting with global entrepreneurs. What do you think Indian entrepreneurs can learn from their global counterparts?

The ability to think big and execute at scale is what distinguishes a global entrepreneur from the rest. I think many Indian entrepreneurs have this opportunity now to build global scale companies, but they need to build cross-culture high performance teams and have the agility to move quickly. They also need a much deeper strategic vision.

What’s the future of accelerators in India? Is there a consolidation in making?

We are at a very early stage of accelerator evolution ( or revolution) in India. In Silicon Valley alone, there are 100 plus accelerator while in the whole if India we don’t have more than 5-6 active accelerators. I think coming years will see many many newer types of accelerators and incubators and hybrid of them, but as is true for all startups, only a few will thrive.

At GSF we believe in working with the best talent whether it’s the startups or EIRs. This obsession with quality is  now manifesting in the performance of our portfolio companies. Already 15 of our companies have raised seed rounds and 6 have raised series A rounds from leading global VCs.

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