Interaction with Mohan Narayanan, CEO, Kubos

Friday, 6 November 2015, M. Rajalingam ,

This blog post is the follow up of my first post on my meeting with Mr. Mohan Narayanan, CEO of KUBOS Consultancy at the IITM Research Park 2 weeks before. I went to his office and had an interaction with him about the current scenario of startups particularly in Chennai.


A brief intro about him. He was formerly the VP of Healthcare & Life sciences vertical @ Cognizant. Currently he is the founder of KUBOS Consultancy, which is a transformational boutique consulting company specializing in leadership assessment & development, leadership coaching, HR strategy and HR process consulting along with unique finishing school programs for B school students.

He partly spends his time supporting the entrepreneurs and their startups in Chennai. When I asked him what motivated him to take on the role of a mentor, he laughs out loud and tells that he doesn’t prefer to be called as a mentor. He puts it simply that he is not mentoring the startups but sharing his experience. He believes mentoring should never be pushed on to the younger generation and instead he lets the entrepreneurs ask him what they want.

My first question to him was about the increasing number of IT startups. He pointed out that as we are living in a digital space, technology acts as an enabler to sell your product/service to your customers and technology has become an important part of any startup. He gave out examples like flipkart, ola and big basket and pointed out though they are not tech startups they invest heavily in technologies to make their products a “disruptive” innovation.

In his own words, “if you find a good merger between the technology and the needs, there is a good chance of success. Indians by nature are tech savvy. Tech startups are easy to do”. The problem or the risk the ecommerce startups face is that the only way they know whether they will succeed or fail is only when they try. He urges the ecommerce startups to think big and that scaling is important for success since valuation plays a bigger role now rather than the actual profit.


Please find below the excerpts of my interview with him.

Q: There is a rise of entrepreneurship spirit among students and employees in IT companies. What is your advice for them?
A: It’s a welcoming change One thing is there is an ecosystem with established networks like Mentoring forums, TIE, incubators to bounce off your ideas.
Second is the age factor. My generation people became entrepreneurs after working and after getting comfortable economically. Our perception was that there is a need for lot of money required for setting up biz and the risk taking ability was very low
Youngsters can now easily set up a biz. Investment required is less. This seems to be a big change now. Market opportunities are high. Different ways are available for the youngsters to look at life and career (entrepreneurial/ job) in general. Risk taking among the youngsters is on the high. Even if you fail, you can always go back and change the paths. Age factor plays a role. Mindset is changing and it is a good sign. People are no longer saying they are looking for jobs, they say they are creating jobs.

Q: Rather than following one’s passion, people I interact with, are more oriented towards getting the funds at the idea stage. What do you think about it?
A: First thing they look is funding. Asking for someone else’s money. But I would say it’s too early to talk about the funding aspect now. Still people of our generation with significant money fund startups and for them its about giving back to the society. In this scenario, the expectations of the Angel investors regarding the ROI are low. There is a danger here, that the startups feel that the money is easily available.
But the good thing is that an ecosystem is available. There is more access to the funding. But I can also see a problem. I am seeing lots of “Fly by night entrepreneurs”.
I would say there is always a risk, because as per the statistics, 80% startups fail historically.
But still the investors doesn’t give out the money easily. Process of funding is not blind-folded. Due diligence is done. Many people don’t get funded.


As a final question, I ventured into the current scenario of female entrepreneurs. His beliefs are that the motive behind the startup and the family support are vital for a female entrepreneur to succeed.

He also pointed out that he had seen women entrepreneurs from a nuclear family faring better than the ones from a joint family. He shared that the women entrepreneurs are on the rise but the motive behind the venture is often a necessity to have a balanced life instead of a passion towards entrepreneurship itself.

I thanked him for the time he spent with me, for the interaction and patiently sharing his views about the startups.

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