Sep 21, 2018

Outliers 72: Indus Khaitan on the curse and joy of entrepreneurship

BYPankaj Mishra

“What can I do that I haven’t done in the past, or trained for?”
At 44, Indushekhar Khaitan has been an entrepreneur, a VC and a corporate executive. Khaitan’s journey across these assignments was triggered by the restlessness to do something he had not done before. And that meant long, painful journeys apart from discovering what he’s good at, and what he’s not.
“We had no idea what venture investing was when we started Morpheus. We didn’t even know we had to set aside 2 per cent as the management fee for our salaries etc.,” he says.
“Now that I piece it all back, I was only finding what I’m capable of doing and what I’m not.”
“When I decided Morpheus wasn’t for me, it was because I couldn’t see myself giving gyan to founders without actually doing it,” he says.
After Morpheus, things changed a lot.
“I was now feeling, where’s my power, my army?”
So what really changes when you’re not an entrepreneur?
“In a job, boundaries are laid out for you. As an entrepreneur, you lay out the boundaries. You’re still the same person,” he says.
Why is Indus not an entrepreneur again?
“You do a startup, make half a million, the bar is $50 million for the next one. Now the next one has to be $500 million worth of your time. That bar is actually the bar that doesn’t let you enter entrepreneurship until you have the next 500 million idea,” he says.
For now, Khaitan is training to be a pilot apart from helping the SaaS startup Chargebee hack its next phase of growth.
“In five years, if I’m a pilot, that will be a completely different career.”

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.