Company building and culture

What is success?

27th March 2019

It's a question we find ourselves coming back to often, with every new conversation, partnership and investment.

What is success? This is a question we ask all prospective founders to answer when they send us a pitch. It's deliberately open-ended – there's no right or wrong answer – and we always get a range of responses. Most importantly, they signal what entrepreneurs value most, both personally and while running their businesses.

It’s useful from time to time to reassess that question and make sure the market feedback that we get supports our vision.

We asked CEOs of some of our portfolio companies to share what success means to them.


Jaydeep Barman, Rebel Foods

My definition of success over time has become ‘to be able to change something fundamentally’. There have been many instances when I just thought of how to survive the month, and at those times the definition of success was ‘not failing somehow’. But the central theme of trying to build something that will change one thing, something, irreversibly has been the biggest motivator for me over the years.

We talk about this in most of our internal conversations – I think the team now view themselves as ‘car makers’ rather than ‘horse improvers’ :). This thinking helps us drive strategies and initiatives that would otherwise freak people out completely.

Obviously, we care about monthly and quarterly pnls, de-risking our business and growth. Growth is the life-blood of our company, like any company, but we have not been viewing growth as the be-all-end-all of our business.


Saroja Yeramilli, Melorra

For me, success is not just about outcomes but behaviours and value system too. The kind of organisation one builds, the culture, integrity in professional partnerships, win-win relationships, having a diverse work culture, all that is also success.


Aditi Avasthi, Embibe

Success to me means outcomes.
For customers and the stakeholders you touch as a CEO. Ever higher, ever growing outcomes.

Effort is not success.
Meaningful effort in the right direction, thinking hard before you sprint will always lead to creating outcomes. It may take time but it will happen

Building a consistent, shared narrative and chasing that vision results in outcomes.

IQ creates approaches, EQ creates outcomes by knitting together those approaches into actual effort and persistence.

Above all, doggedness creates outcomes.
Success is building the mountain, not climbing it.