Conversations for founders and investors by the AngelList India team. These interviews are designed to help future and current founders get answers and for angel investors to improve their investing careers. You can find out more about AngelList India onwww.angel.co/india or get in touch with us on Twitter @AngelListIndia.
Ashish Dave is the CEO of Mirae Asset Venture Investments (India). He is responsible for setting up Mirae's Venture business in India and has invested in companies like Zomato, Ola, BigBasket, KreditBee, Raise Financial, Koo and Jai Kisan among others.
Sampad Swain is the CEO and co-founder of Instamojo. He’s a serial entrepreneur who’s been working relentlessly towards the mission of bringing Indian MSMEs online. Instamojo was the first company to pioneer the concept of “payment link” in India and has now expanded into a full-stack e-commerce platform for DTC merchants. Apart from being somebody who understands the sentiment of small businesses, he is an avid reader and loves a good game of football and tennis.
Tarun is a Managing Director at Matrix Partners India. He is an intrapreneur turned VC who has had the unique opportunity to build and lead two successful Internet businesses in India. With over 12 years of experience in the trenches, he enjoys partnering with promising entrepreneurs and uses his experience to help them nurture, grow and flourish their business. He has backed companies such as Ola Cabs, DealShare, Stanza Living, Dukaan, Captain Fresh and many more.
Mohit Kumar is the founder and CEO of Ultrahuman. Prior to this, in 2015, he founded Runnr, a hyperlocal logistics platform. Runnr merged with Zomato in 2017 with Mohit transitioning to lead the Global delivery business at Zomato. There, he built one of the largest delivery fleets in the world with ~ 300k+ delivery executives in 1000 cities. Mohit is an avid cyclist, biohacker and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast.
Aaryaman Vir is an entrepreneur who co-founded India’s first VC-funded blockchain startup called Elemential Labs. While Aaryaman remains heavily involved with NFTs and cryptocurrencies, he also runs an early stage fund Prophetic Ventures, volunteers with the iSPIRT Foundation, and writes about tech on his blog called Tigerfeathers.
Hemant is a Partner with Lightspeed India, a global VC firm with offices in the US, India, China and Israel. Prior to Lightspeed, he was a partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), a VC firm based in Silicon Valley and investor in Facebook, Twitter, AirBnb, and more. He joined a16z after 5 years at Google doing strategic partnerships deals and investments. Before a16z and Google, Hemant was an Engineer at AMD, a micro-processor firm. He has a bachelor's and a couple of master's degrees in engineering, computer sciences, and business spread across India, USA and the UK.
Ankur Warikoo founded nearbuy.com, India’s No.1 Lifestyle App. Prior to that, Ankur started Groupon’s India business in 2011 and acted as the Country CEO from 2011-15, and Head of Groupon APAC from 2013-15. In 2008 he co-founded his first startup - Accentium Web that ran websites such as Gaadi.com, Secondshaadi.com amongst others. Thereafter, Ankur launched Rocket Internet’s India business and was part of the founding team of Jabong.com. Ankur was part of Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 List for India, LinkedIn India’s Top Voices for 2018, 2019 and 2020, LinkedIn India’s Spotlight List, India’s Top Executives under 40 by Business Today.
Anand Agrawal is the Co-founder and CTO of Credgenics - India’s leading recovery and technology-enabled debt collections platform; servicing 7 Banks, +40 NBFCs and fintech platforms. Ethically reducing the massive bad debts for the clients and ultimately the Indian fiscal scene, they are powered by Accel Partners, Westbridge Capital, Tanglin, Titan Capital and boast of progress in AI and Machine Learning. Anand is an IIT-Delhi alumni with a strong Computer Science background and gained experience as a Lead in the data science team of 1MG and Urban Company.
Anshul Sharma is the co-founder of Redwing Labs, an autonomous logistics startup using drones to deliver healthcare products. The team has received 12 awards by industry giants such as NASA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Airbus. Redwing is building a “virtual cold chain” for logistics by using an on-demand drone logistics network. This will reduce the need for refrigerators at hospitals & decrease wastage in supply chain, by delivering cold-chain products like blood & vaccines using autonomous flying robots. Backed by Techstars India, ITIGO, Beyond Capital, Cloud Capital, Asymmetry Ventures and other angels.
Pranay Gupta runs the 91Ventures Syndicate. He co-founded 91Springboard, India’s first & most loved co-working space and was the ex-Joint CEO of IIM-A’s Incubator, Accelerator & Seed fund. He has invested professionally in 80+ startups with 30+ given exits.
Rahul is the Founder & CEO of BimaPe, a Y-Combinator backed InsurTech startup. BimaPe makes it easy for Indian families to manage all their insurance plans via a single interface.
Prior to founding BimaPe, Rahul worked as an Insurance PM at Laka Insurance and in FinTech investments at Accenture in the UK.
Sarvesh Shashi is the youngest CEO in the yoga and wellness fraternity. He is building SARVA Yoga to be a globally recognised name with the vision of connecting seven billion breaths. Sarvesh believes in the philosophy of consciousness through yoga and the emotion of happiness that stems out of yoga practices. He wants to spread this yoga happiness to thousands. At a young age of 21 he gave up a bright career in his father’s sprawling businesses and set out to touch the lives of many with yoga. Hence he is fondly called The CEO among Monks by many.
Abhimanyu Saxena is one of the co-founders at InterviewBit and Scaler Academy. Passionate about creating something new, he started his entrepreneurial journey during his B.Tech days - co-founding ‘Daksh Home Automations Systems’ with his batch mates. Together they developed a cost-effective and green AI-based system that helped households reduce their monthly electricity consumption. The company was later sold to a reputed organisation based in Malta, although it was a paltry amount it was a huge motivator for Abhimanyu and his friends.
In 2010, he joined Progress Software as a programmer and worked with them for a year and a half building scalability solutions for the research labs and the largest airlines of the world. He moved to Fab.com in New York and worked with them for over three years.
While working with Fab.com, Abhimanyu experienced a scarcity of skilled tech talent owing to the considerable gap that exists between the university curriculum and the skills that are required to succeed as a software engineer. This led him to join hands with his college friend - Anshuman Singh and launch InterviewBit. Since its launch in 2015, Abhimanyu and the team have been able to build InterviewBit into one of the most popular skilling and tech recruitment companies in the country. In 2019, they successfully launched Scaler Academy - an online career accelerator program - the next step in the evolution of InterviewBit.
Abhimanyu completed his B.Tech in Computer Science from IIIT - Hyderabad.
Rajiv is a Partner at Antler India. Previously, Rajiv co-founded Urban Ladder (UL), India's top omni-channel furniture brand, where he oversaw Product, Technology, Culture, Marketing & Brand. Over ~8 years before being acquired by Reliance, UL raised over $100Mn in venture capital from top Indian VCs, grew into one of India’s most loved brands, and changed the way Indians shop for furniture online. Prior to Urban Ladder, he served as a Senior Product Manager with Yahoo. He has been featured on GQ Influential Young Indians and repeatedly on the Fortune 40 Under 40 India list. Rajiv loves working with early-stage entrepreneurs on product, culture and brand to build scalable companies.
Anurag Ramdasan leads investments at 3one4 Capital. 3one4 Capital is an early-stage tech VC firm with a portfolio of 50+ active startups. Anurag has been with the firm since 2016, leading the investment practice. Previously he led tech at the bay area-based edtech startup, Edcast. 3one4 Capital has a portfolio of companies including Licious, Open, Darwinbox, Betterplace, MoneyOnClick.
Rupesh embarked on his entrepreneurship journey while studying for his Bachelor of Technology back in 2014. After half a decade and 4 startups later, Rupesh co-founded PagarBook with cofounders Adarsh and Arya, aimed to build human capital platform for Indian SMEs by digitizing financial and professional profiling of 65M+ SMEs and 400M+ employees working in these businesses. At PagarBook Rupesh currently looks after growth and business strategy.
Aloke Bajpai is the co-founder of iXigo - India's leading AI based travel app. iXigo was recently ranked amongst India's top 10 transactional apps on the Google Playstore - the only travel app to feature in the top 10 list. They also acquired ConfirmTkt - a railway tickets booking platform which brings the combined strength of iXigo's user base to 35M MAUs. On this interview Aloke talks about his journey with iXigo for the last 13 years, how they have transitioned between 3 business models to arrive at the right profitable one and how 2021 is shaping out for the travel industry.
Apurv Agrawal is the Co-founder and CEO, SquadStack - synchronous combination of Humans + AI as the future of work. They leverage technology to build sales-acceleration solutions for consumer companies across the globe. With SquadIQ (In India) and Auctm (US Real estate) market, they are helping consumer businesses 5x their sales conversions and improve profitability. At its core, SquadStack strives to create a people-first organisation heavily centered around a robust culture of ownership and flexibility.
Anirudh Singla is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pepper Content, one of the leading content marketplace platforms that connect businesses with content creators. With the extensive talent network, the platform consists of a two-sided managed marketplace for creative professionals like content writers, graphic designers, language specialists, and editors; where creators get matched to the best fit content projects from businesses. Anirudh and Rishabh Shekhar, who were batchmates at BITS Pilani, founded Pepper Content with a vision to build a global content company out of India that would disrupt the entire content creation industry at scale and create a stronger, qualitative, and more organised ecosystem for content creators.
Sumit Gupta is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CoinDCX, India’s largest and safest cryptocurrency exchange and liquidity aggregator. When Bitcoin began gaining traction in 2014, Sumit saw the potential of leveraging blockchain technology to enable financial inclusion. Under Sumit’s able leadership, CoinDCX has grown manifold from a startup to the largest cryptocurrency exchange in India. Backed by eminent investors such as Polychain Capital, Coinbase, Block.one, among others, CoinDCX boasts of a range of products and services such as staking, margin trading, fiat on ramp/off ramp offerings, to cater to every kind of investor in India. Sumit Gupta holds an Undergraduate and Master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.
"Being nice is a superpower in startup investing. There is a reason early individual investors in startup world are called angels and we all need to do everything to grow into that title". Hear how Abhishek Goyal, cofounder of Tracxn is working towards accelerating innovation globally through Tracxn and through angel investing and how he is most bullish about tomorrow than ever before. Abhishek is graduate from IIT Kanpur, worked with Yahoo and Amazon before joining Accel and then starting Tracxn. In various avatars (Accel, Tracxn Labs & personally), he has invested in 100+ startups over last 13 years which included names like Flipkart, Delhivery, Rupeek, Gameskraft, Airmeet, and Lafz.
Shashank started his fitness journey at over 100kgs, 15 years ago. In the decade that followed, he taught himself fitness, lost 40kgs, ran several marathons, and helped many friends and colleagues get onto the fitness bandwagon. An IIM graduate, he has self-experimented with every fitness-fad and quick-fix out there, and now runs a 100% clean label food brand called The Whole Truth (formerly ‘and nothing else’). They make super clean Protein Bars and Immunity balls, and you can check them out at thewholetruthfoods.com.
Aakrit Vaish is the Co-Founder & CEO of Haptik, a conversational AI company acquired by Reliance Jio in March 2019. Haptik's mission has been to enable better & faster customer experiences for businesses using AI, through messaging and voice. The company has powered more than 3 billion interactions as of December 2020 and counts six Fortune 500 companies as customers. As part of Jio Platforms, Haptik's goal is to create an AI software powerhouse, built from India for the world. Outside of Haptik, Aakrit is an investor in startups in India and the US, notable ones being Unacademy, Pepper Content, Park+, Flat White Capital, Third Wave Coffee, Ayoconnect, Haikujam, Tookitaki, among others. Aakrit is also the Chair for the India chapter for H2, one of the world's leading leadership organisations for the technology industry.
Harpreet S. Grover and Vibhore Goyal are friends who first met as room-mates at IIT Bombay and eventually decided to start and run CoCubes.com for over ten years, before being acquired by Aon Hewitt in an all-cash deal. At the time of acquisition, CoCubes had touched 3 million students across India and worked with 1000+ corporates and colleges. Harpreet is an active angel investor—some of his deals include Chaayos, ShopKirana and Avail Finance, among others. Vibhore is a business-product guy who loves flying. Alongside building CoCubes over the years, he co-founded Babajob and is now the founder and CEO of OneBanc, a fintech start-up. Harpreet tweets at @hsgrover.
Rohan & Arjun Malhotra are founding partners of Good Capital, an early-stage fund focused on Indian startups with first cheques in Meesho, SimSim, & Entri. The firm specializes in business models that enable intermediaries for distribution, personalisation or localisation. Founding Partners of Good Capital cover a lot of ground on AngelList India Radio - raising capital but being offered marriage proposals, empirical vs. rational approaches to investing, building a VC firm, competing in the Olympics, why global investors have been burnt in India and Good Capital's unusual approach to seed of creating a concentrated, high-conviction portfolio.
Abhishek Nag is the Director of Business Development, India and South Asia, at Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service.In addition to his responsibilities at Netflix, Abhishek has been an active angel investor for the last 4 years, with investments in MyGate, Mobile Premier League, The Healthy Cravings Co, Kutuki to name a few. He operates his investments through Luminaire Capital (https://luminaire.capital). Abhishek started his career as a telecom engineer with NI, where he was responsible for developing software used in the design and test of RF and wireless communication hardware. Abhishek was one of the earliest employees at Facebook, where he led platform operations, user growth, and partnerships in India, across different stints. Post Facebook, Abhishek led business development and strategic partnerships at Uber and Hike Messenger. Abhishek lives in Mumbai with his spouse, Nupur, and two cats - Chip and Ollie.
Nitin Sharma is a seasoned VC in his third venture investing innings with FirstPrinciples, a portfolio of 40+ Seed to Pre Series A investments. From edtech to blockchain to D2C brands to cross-border US-India startups, Nitin has followed his wide-ranging curiosity in working with founders. He is also the founder of Incrypt Blockchain. Previously, Nitin has been a founding principal at Lightbox, one of India’s leading consumer tech funds ($400M AUM). Earlier in his career, he learnt the ropes of venture investing from some of the best, while being at NEA in the US, and was also an early executive at EverFi, one of the world’s largest edtech startups. Nitin serves on the advisory boards of AngelList India, the USC Viterbi School and TheBetterIndia, and advises NITI Aayog on frontier tech policy.
Harshil is the Co-Founder and CEO of Razorpay. He started Razorpay after discovering the dismal state of online payments in India. He graduated from IIT Roorkee in 2013 and started working at Schlumberger. With an idea to change the way online payments functioned in India, Harshil quit his full-time job and founded Razorpay with his co-founder, Shashank Kumar in 2014 to simplify online payments for India. Razorpay was one of the very few India-focused companies to be selected for the prestigious Y Combinator (YC) programme in 2014. Along with 33 reputed investors, the company is also backed by GIC, Sequoia Capital India, Tiger Global Management, Y Combinator, Matrix Partners and Mastercard with a funding of $207M across Series A, B, C and D rounds.
Nithin Kamath is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zerodha, which he co-founded with his brother Nikhil in 2010. Zerodha is India’s first discount brokerage and is widely credited as being a disruptive force in the Indian Broking industry. Zerodha is now the largest broking firm in the country by active clients & turnover and contributes more than 15% of the daily exchange turnover, serving more than 3 million clients. With Zerodha, Nithin has worked relentlessly to solve the woes individual Indian investors face. He has won many awards while doing the same - Economic Times’ Startup of the Year 2020, ET 40 under 40 and others.
Sairee Chahal is the Founder and CEO of SHEROES, where she is building the Women's Internet in India. SHEROES is India's largest online Women-Only Social Network. SHEROES currently has 21 million users, has members from over 20,000 locations, and over 12,000 companies actively use the platform.
Ritesh Malik is a doctor turned entrepreneur and investor. He is the Founder of Innov8 which was acquired by Oyo. He is also a founding member of Plaksha University - training future entrepreneurs to be Industry 4.0 ready - along with some of the leading tech leaders of India.
Sanket Shah is the Founder of InVideo, where is he is building the worlds best and the most used video creation platform. InVideo has raised venture funds from the likes of Sequoia Capital India and Tiger Global. 2X entrepreneur. Try out the product at https://invideo.io/.
Gaurav Munjal is the Co-Founder and CEO of Unacademy, India’s largest learning platform. He started Unacademy as an educational YouTube channel in 2010 when he was in college. In 2013, he set up his first company, Flat.to (now acquired by CommonFloor). Unacademy was established as a company in 2015 and has achieved exponential growth and success since then. Backed by prominent venture firms like Softbank, General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital, Nexus Ventures, Facebook and Blume Ventures.
Madhavan is the CEO of CreatorOS. CreatorOS helps coaches, teachers and artists launch their own app to start monetising their engagement with fans by selling content and managing the community. He has been building such tooling for the last three years, and has now arrived at a product his users love - after multiple pivots. You can try the product at https://creatoros.co/.
Kunal is the Co-Founder and CEO of Snapdeal.com, one of India’s largest e-commerce companies. In its journey till now, Snapdeal has partnered with several global marquee investors such as Softbank, Alibaba, Foxconn, BlackRock, Temasek, eBay Inc, Mr. Ratan Tata, Mr. Azim Premji, among others. Kunal is an engineer from the University of Pennsylvania, with a business degree from The Wharton School. At the University of Pennsylvania, he was part of the prestigious Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program. He was named The Economic Times Entrepreneur of the Year 2015, which is the most prestigious entrepreneurship award in India. He also featured in the 2014 Fortune Global 40 under 40 list and was the recipient of The Wharton Young Leader Award 2018.
Kunal and his co-founder Rohit Bansal, now invest in early stage startups in India through Titan Capital. Some of their investments are Ola Cabs, Razorpay, Bira91, Urban Company, Mamaearth. More about Titan Capital on https://titancapital.vc.
Vivek is the CEO and co-founder of Bounce, one of the fastest growing mobility companies in the world. Bounce offers self drive scooters, where users can pick up and drop scooters anywhere. Bounce has raised over USD 200M and has done over 30 million rides in Bangalore. Vivek and Bounce believe that mobility is a fundamental right and is on the mission of enabling this fundamental right to access.
Jasminder Singh Gulati co-founded NowFloats (sold to Reliance Jio), a Hyderabad-based startup which focuses on empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by helping them go online easily, without spending a fortune. A TedX speaker, he has brought more 130,000 businesses online whose websites account for five percent of the overall traffic generated by Indian SMBs. His motto now is to turn every business in India digital by 2022. During his corporate stint at TCS, he built India’s first global software product for the financial services industry. His longest stint was at Microsoft where he worked for more than 11 years and headed multiple roles - from being a technology evangelist to heading global sales for countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa, APAC, Japan, and China.
Vidur Gupta is the co-founder of Third Eye Distilleries, which produces the inherently Indian gin, Stranger and Sons. He graduated from the University of St. Andrews in 2014 with an MA in economics and management. He started his career at a premium health foods company, Eat Natural in London. He returned to India in 2016 as Managing Director for Gouri’s Goodies, one of India’s first natural clean label snack food companies (which started in his mother’s kitchen!).
Wing Vasiksiri is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of iSeed SEA. He was previously on the operations team at AngelList where he worked with angel investors and fund managers to invest over $80M into 357 startups. Before that, he helped raised institutional funds for 500 Startups and The House Fund and has personally angel invested in 18 startups and 3 venture funds. He is now based in Thailand where he invests across Southeast Asia and helps companies scale and break into the Thai market.
Deepak is the co-founder of Repute, that exists to reward great consumer behaviour in the rental economy space. He has previously co-founded NestAway, a large co-living service operator, and was a founding member of CitrusPay that was sold to PayU.
Anubhav is the Co-founder & CEO of Rupifi. He has worked in Financial Services space on Risk, Product and Data Analytics for 12+ years, building Commercial and Consumer Risk Strategies for Amex, Citi, Qbera, Razorpay and now at Rupifi. Rupifi is building India’s first Embedded Lending Fintech for Small Businesses in an Anchor-led approach, working with marketplaces, aggregators and distributors and powering B2B transactions on credit.
Matt Chitharanjan is the co-founder of Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters. Matt graduated from NYU’s Stern School of Business with a B.S. in Finance. He has corporate/industry experience in the area of Economic Research and Real Estate Investing for a boutique consulting firm and hedge fund in Berkeley, California before pursuing an M.A. in Economics from The University of British Columbia.
Archana Priyadarshini is the founder of PointOne Capital. She has built a diverse portfolio of 35+ companies in sectors like FinTech, EdTech, consumer brands and gaming. Some of her portfolio companies are Bank Open, Trell, and Chingari. Prior to PointOne Capital, Archana was a partner at micro VC fund Unicorn India Ventures. She had founded and exited from a chain of fitness centers called Bootcamp Fitness Studio.
Adith Podhar is the Founding Partner at Gemba Capital, an early stage investment firm in India. Gemba Capital has invested in 20+ companies like Plum, ClickPost, Zuper, Upekkha, Finly, and many others. Prior to Gemba, Adith was VP at Motilal Oswal PE Fund, where his responsibility was across the investment cycle from deal sourcing to exit. Adith has also been an investment banker and founder of Crepeteria – a chain of quick serve restaurants. Adith is one of the few operators who has experience in both late stage and early stage investing.
Kushal Bhagia is the CEO of FirstCheque.vc, an early stage venture fund run by successful Indian Founders who have now turned angels. First Cheque has invested in 45+ early stage companies including multiple notable companies like Bellatrix Aerospace, FleetX, DrinkPrime, Yolobus and more. A BITS grad, Kushal earlier cofounded Nayi Disha Studios, an ed-tech company that built educational games for kindergarteners and subsequently led Corporate Partnerships at UpGrad. He enjoys reading, gaming, spending time with founders and helping underdogs win!
Sameer is a Managing Director at Nexus Venture Partners, where he opened & leads their Bangalore office. At Nexus, he has led investments in Postman, Unacademy, Hasura, Infra.market, Zolo, Ultrahuman, Zomato (via RoadRunnr), Rocketlane, Quandl (NASDAQ), Goodera, MayaData, Joveo, Jumbotail, MyUpchar, Goals101 & Indix (Avalara). Prior to Nexus, Sameer was the founding member at Reliance Capital’s early stage venture capital fund (Reliance Ventures) where he led investments in PayTM (stake acquired by Chinese internet giant), HealthSpring (Columbia Pacific), Tessolve Semiconductor (Hero Electronix), Dhama Innovations (buy-back), Greendust, Stoke (Mavenir Systems) & EBand Communications (CarrierCom). His operational expertise is product management, business development, sales acceleration, recruiting, follow-on fundraising, and scaling. He is on the advisory board of The Digital Fifth, an Advisor to AngelList India, Microsoft Ventures India and voted as a “40 under 40 Alternative Investment Professionals" in India by IAAIF. He is also a Global Panel Member at MIT Technology Review and a Kautilya Fellow (Class of 2020). Sameer has served in operating roles at UTStarcom, Inc, Ericsson, and American Wireless BroadBand, as a Product Manager, Solutions Architect, and Network Architect. A life-long learner, Sameer earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering as an International & Founders Scholar from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago.
Sweta Rau is the founder of White Ventures that invests across India and Southeast Asia. She has built a diverse portfolio of 40+ Investments in FinTech, EdTech, consumer brands and gaming. Some of her early stage investments are Bank Open, YAP (M2P), Airmeet, Mauna.Ai, Vahdam Teas, Bare Anatomy, Uable, Exprs, Leap.Club, Trell, Cred, Mobile Premier League, Dunzo and many others in India and SEA. Prior to White Ventures, Sweta has worked with corporates like Wipro, IBM, Teradata, ICICI Infotech in data analytics and business intelligence space.
Vaibhav Domkundwar is the Founder & CEO at Better, an India-focused early stage venture firm with 70+ investments in category-defining companies like Rupeek, Open, Khatabook, Bijak, Airmeet, Fittr, Jupiter, Yulu and many others. Prior to Better, Vaibhav was the co-founder at Roamware, a leader in telecom analytics with 500+ carrier customers globally. Roamware was successfully acquired by private equity firm, Audax. Vaibhav is a UC Berkeley alum & a lifelong entrepreneur.