I joined Lightbox VC in the summer of 2016 after having graduated a year earlier. I had just returned to India after working with a successful UK based startup. I was uncertain about what the experience of working in Mumbai would be like, since I had never worked professionally in India but had heard several unpleasant anecdotes about how ‘interns’ were treated. However, my stint at Lightbox was unlike any of my peers in similar positions.
During my time at Lightbox VC, I had the freedom to work on things that interested me. For example, I was given the responsibility to work on the due diligence for a follow on funding round of a portfolio company. I not only got to sit in high level meetings with the founders and LBVC partners but prepared some of the documentation that would be sent to the Limited Partners (Entities that provide the funds to a venture capital firm to make investments). Along with some of the other members of the team, I would evaluate incoming deals to determine whether they warranted further consideration. I was also exposed to the operations of a portfolio company that was in a period of extreme difficulty. I came away from these experiences having a new understanding of the startup ecosystem.
However, the value of Lightbox is not only in the jobs you perform but also the people you meet. During the annual Lightbox dinner, I got to meet several people who are household names or industry veterans. The culture at Lightbox is very open minded and every monday we would have a team meeting where we would interact with someone from outside the organization.
Lightbox had a tremendous impact on me. I was slated to attend a Master’s program in the US but due to the experience and frank inputs of the people I worked with and met, I was able to make a more informed and well thought out decision. Today, I am working on my own project, for which, Lightbox deserves significant credit. There are some relationships that I hope to hold on to, even though they were made during a relatively short stint.
Arranged with witty office banter, and the weekly team lunches, Lightbox truly reflected what they were here for; to support innovation that enriches lives. With a culture that promotes thinking, questioning and collaborating, their space and their people weren’t here only to be the next biggest VC, there was heart behind it.
The advice to entrepreneurs is to experiment, fail, learn and repeat. Try things at a small scale and at a low cost, and quickly assess if they work or not and then take a call on what is worth scaling up. The experiments should either stop or continue based on consumer feedback.