Jul 20, 2008

The Milagrow story - Meeting Rajeev Karwal

Being a blogger has its advantages. You get to meet and connect with people you might not ever had the chance to ever get an appointment with :-)

Rajeev Karwal is one of the rare CEO bloggers in India. We connected via blogs and then on facebook. Leaving messages on each other's walls we finally met last week at Hyderabad.

Rajeev these days is a man on a mission. His firm Milagrow is not a traditional Venture Capital firm. Instead, they call themselves Venture Catalysts, focusing on the huge number of micro and small business segment in India who need a lot of knowledge and management inputs - having passion and a desire to make a difference.

Milagrow has amongst its mentors marketing professor Dr. Jagdish Sheth and Prof. Anil Gupta who has been evangelising Indian innovation.

When I asked Rajeev how he engages with MSMEs he shared that Milagrow has different models, from a fee based model, to a fee+revenue share to fee+revenue share+stake also. MSMEs gain from knowledge and expertise that the Milagrow folks bring in (with some top notch B School and Engineering college alumni amongst its employees) as well as their associates.

We talked about how MSMEs face a huge talent crunch as they try to scale up and move from being small entrepreneurial ventures to established business. I told Rajeev about the old article by Larry Greiner about the way organizations go through different phases from entrepreneurial to becoming large organizations.

MSMEs need a lot of support in India, and venture capital is only one part of the solution, therefore there is a huge need of such organizations like Milagrow to unlock their full potential. Some might take the approach of helping MSMEs in a particular industry vertical, and others might need to look at providing specific services to MSMEs, but the model cannot be the same as those being offered to large organizations.