He made Ravi feel big – for a while
By Sona Maniar
The ice cubes swirled wildly in the glass as Ravi stirred his drink distractedly. He was deep in thought and worry – two hours into the investors’ meet in Amsterdam and still no tangible lead that he could latch onto. He cast the agitator aside and stepped forth to mingle again with the investors, muttering a quick prayer that his desperation for funds wouldn’t be terribly apparent.
Ravi’s story since graduation from business school hadn’t been very inspiring. He had opted to tread on the entrepreneurial path, but five years on, he had yet to find that venture he felt proud of hoisting his flag on. VidArt – his latest startup in the video on demand space – was quite honestly his last try at the entrepreneurship counter. If this company went belly up, then he would hang up his entrepreneurial boots and settle for good into a 9-5 job.
He had started VidArt with his friend Ayush, an ace programmer. The idea was to develop a superior video archiving platform for corporate. He had put 75,000 dollars of his own savings into the venture to kickstart it. That funding had got them through the first four months, with a prototype now in place. To take it to the next level, Ravi needed 500,000 dollars. For the past three months he had been in an intense pursuit of this funding. All without success. Old investors rejected the proposal as they had lost money before and new investors turned him down for the lack of a proven track record. Time was running out and he needed to clinch a deal in Amsterdam. That pressure had kept him up most of last night.
A pat on his back made Ravi turn his attention towards a young gentleman. That person looked at him through his deep blue eyes, his gelled blond hair combed backwards to perfection.
“They met after so long”
“Ravi, Ravi Krishnan, right?” the gentleman inquired, his face breaking into a friendly and engaging grin.
A fraction of a second later, Ravi reached out to hug him as his identity suddenly dawned on him.
“Arjan Driessen, is that really you? Hoe gaat het (How’s it going)?”
“Ten years since Delft University and our paths crossed again,” he practically screamed.
“What are you doing here?” he enquired
“I am now a partner with Driessen and Halsema, the legal firm that my father co-founded. My father retired a couple of years ago and handed over the reins to me.”
“You seem to be doing very well for yourself,” Ravi remarked, enviously eyeing the finely-tailored suit that he was wearing.
“I advise clients on deals particularly in African countries like Namibia and Mozambique. But I also have an interest in investments for high returns. So, I am here at this conference more as an investor than as a legal professional.”
Ravi immediately got more excited. He launched into his one-minute elevator pitch about his plans and funding needs. Forty seconds into his pitch, Ravi noticed that Arjan was actually staring at his shoes. Had he lost him? Ravi shifted slightly. Then, as he concluded, Arjan placed his hand on his arm and suggested that they continue this discussion at his office later in the afternoon. Ravi was delighted. Finally some real interest.