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The VCpreneur: Startups | Venture Capital | Entrepreneurship | Fundraising

The VCpreneur: Startups | Venture Capital | Entrepreneurship | Fundraising

By Digjay Patel
The VCpreneur podcast provides a unique perspective of the startup world, through the lens of Venture Capitalists (VCs) and Entrepreneurs. The podcast features successful VCs and Entrepreneurs discussing the art & science of building products, scaling startups, fundraising and investing in a venture. Listen in to learn from individuals who have been there, done that and made a dent in the venture universe. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem.
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EP#22 Priya Mohan – Lessons from an entrepreneur turned VC, key considerations when evaluating an exit and importance of maintaining mental wellbeing for VCs & founders

The VCpreneur: Startups | Venture Capital | Entrepreneurship | Fundraising

EP#22 Priya Mohan – Lessons from an entrepreneur turned VC, key considerations when evaluating an exit and importance of maintaining mental wellbeing for VCs & founders

The VCpreneur: Startups | Venture Capital | Entrepreneurship | Fundraising

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EP#56 Mayank Banerjee – Building Even Healthcare, choosing the right co-founders and understanding the investor perspective when fundraising as a founder
In this episode, Mayank Banerjee (Co-Founder & CEO, Even Healthcare), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to Even, choosing the right co-founders, the problem statement that Even is solving for, challenges faced in the 0 to 1 journey, attracting quality talent at the earliest stages of a startup, straddling between the short term & long term vision, the importance of understanding the VC perspective when fundraising as a founder and having a thesis about the kind of investors you’d like to have on your cap table. Founded in 2020, Even is a healthtech company that partners directly with top hospitals to provide completely cashless, quality healthcare to its members. The startup aims to rid India of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses and mitigate illnesses early on with appropriate medical interventions with its partner hospitals. Even is backed by marquee investors like Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund (led by Peter Thiel) and operator investors like Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora, Cred CEO Kunal Shah, Zerodha Founder Nithin Kamath and DST Global partner Tom Stafford. Prior to Even, Mayank co-founded Compass News, an AI based journalism platform with offices in London and New York & later worked with Entrepreneur First in Bangalore. Mayank studied at the Oxford University where he was the President of the Oxford Union. You can connect with him here on Linkedin or Twitter.  ----  Show notes –  (01:37) Mayank’s background & path leading up to Even  (05:20) Meeting his co-founders; What should one over-index on when choosing their co-founders?  (09:47) The genesis phase & the problem statement that Even is solving for  (17:07) Challenges faced in the 0 to 1 journey  (19:12) Attracting quality talent at the early stages of a startup  (20:49) North star metric for Even today  (22:09) Straddling between the short term & long term vision  (23:17) Fundraising experience at Even; Importance of understanding the VC perspective when fundraising as a founder  (26:37) Having a thesis about the kind of investors you want to have on your cap table  (29:20) Rapid fire and closing remarks  ----  If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
33:38
May 08, 2022
EP#55 Sanjay Nath – The journey from a fund manager to a firm manager, the platform approach of supporting founders and building an enduring VC brand
In this episode, Sanjay Nath (Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Blume Ventures), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to Blume Ventures, the genesis of Blume to build an institutional seed stage fund, challenges faced as a first time fund manager, change in investment & hiring strategy with a growing fund size, the platform and community approach of supporting founders, building a strong VC brand, identifying founders that can build global companies from India, his learnings from a decadal career in VC and more. Founded in 2010, Blume is one of India's leading early-stage venture funds with more than $200 million in assets under management (AUM) across multiple funds & over 150 investments that includes startups like Unacademy, Yulu, Dunzo, Slice, ClassPlus, Ultrahuman, GreyOrange Robotics, Dataweave, Locus, Tricog, Lambdatest, Nektar.ai amongst others. Prior to Blume, Sanjay was based in the Silicon valley where he held consulting and management roles at Sun Microsystems, PwC and IBM Global Services. An alum of BITS Pilani and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Sanjay got his start in venture capital as an angel investor with Mumbai Angels where he invested in startups like InMobi, LittleEye Labs (acquired by Facebook) and others. You can connect with him here on Linkedin or Twitter. ---- Show notes – (02:02) Sanjay’s background & path leading up to Blume (03:45) The genesis of Blume Ventures; Building an institutional fund to invest in seed stage startups (06:09) Challenges faced when launching Fund I (10:02) Change in investment & hiring strategy with a growing fund size (15:55) The platform and community approach of supporting founders (18:59) Building a strong brand as a VC firm (20:20) Sectors that are likely to be global offshoots from India (22:02) Key traits of founders that have the capability to build global companies from India (30:14) Learnings from a decadal career in VC (33:14) How has being a VC influenced Sanjay’s personality over the years? (36:42) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
45:25
April 03, 2022
EP#54 Mihir Gupta – Building Teachmint, leveraging inorganic growth to scale up and lessons from fundraising
In this episode, Mihir Gupta (Co-Founder & CEO, Teachmint), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to Teachmint, surviving the 0 to 1 phase as first time founders, building a foundation to scale up rapidly and how to sustain momentum after scaling up, benefits & challenges of pursuing inorganic growth, finding a balance between core venture building & fundraising, aligning fundraising strategy with market dynamics, optimizing for 'conviction' & 'speed' of decision making when choosing your investors and more. Founded in 2020, Teachmint is an edtech-infrastructure startup that helps teachers and institutes create their own virtual classrooms and build direct relationships with students. The startup that is backed by marquee investors like Learn Capital, Rocketship.vc, Better Capital, Lightspeed India, Vulcan Capital among others, has scaled up rapidly in the past 2 years to become one the of the largest teaching platforms in the world. Prior to founding Teachmint, Mihir held leadership positions in startups like OYO and Open Financial. An IIT Bombay alum, Mihir spent the early years of his career as a consultant with McKinsey, working extensively in South East Asia and India. You can connect with him here on Linkedin or Twitter. ---- Show notes – (02:16) Mihir’s background & path leading up to Teachmint; Bringing together the founding team (08:42) Surviving the 0 to 1 phase as first time founders (10:46) Building a foundation to scale up rapidly (14:19) What should founders focus on, to sustain momentum after scaling up? (17:09) Teachmint’s approach to attracting & retaining quality talent (20:43) Benefits & challenges of pursuing inorganic growth (27:22) Finding a balance between core venture building & fundraising (29:51) Aligning fundraising frequency & strategy with market dynamics (33:29) Optimizing for conviction & speed of decision making when choosing your investors; How to gauge conviction when talking to investors? (37:26) How has being a founder influenced his personality over the years? (38:30) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
43:14
March 13, 2022
EP#53 Shiv Sharma – Building Stocktwits in India, pioneering social finance & cracking a new market with an established product
In this episode, Shiv Sharma (VP International, Stocktwits), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to Stocktwits, the reducing gap between startups from India & The Silicon Valley, making the switch from venture capital to the operating side, how Stocktwits is building the world’s largest social finance app, leveraging community to drive financial literacy, why now is the right time for the company to enter India, launching a product in a new market & importance of collaborating with local partners when doing so. Founded in 2008, Stocktwits is the world's leading social network and community of 6mm+ investors and traders. The company is now entering India on the back of its $30mm Series B funding led by Alameda Research Ventures along with participation from Times Bridge. Prior to Stocktwits, Shiv was a VC at Cisco Investments, backing Enterprise SaaS companies. An INSEAD Business School alum, Shiv is passionate about all things public market investing & investing education. You can connect with him here on Linkedin or Twitter. ---- Show notes – (01:32) Shiv’s background & path leading up to Stocktwits (03:34) The reducing gap between startups from India & Silicon Valley (07:02) The switch from venture capital to the operating side (10:02) Common mental models that can be applied to both private & public market investing (12:28) About Stocktwits; Why now is the right time for the company to enter India? (18:53) Leveraging community to drive financial literacy (23:02) Launching a product in a new market; Importance of collaborating with local partners (29:15) Vision for Stocktwits - Build the largest social finance platform in the world (32:11) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
37:30
February 27, 2022
EP#52 Jyotsna Krishnan – Building conviction as a ‘founding investor’, Elevar’s unique investing DNA and backing entrepreneurs that build for the underserved markets
In this episode, Jyotsna Krishnan (Managing Partner, Elevar Equity), joins our host Digjay, to talk about her path leading up to Elevar Equity, Elevar’s unique investing DNA, taking concentrated bets while investing at very early stages of a company, why ‘aspiration’ is the key emotion that founder’s should tap on when building for the underserved markets, building conviction as a ‘founding investor’, Elevar’s North-star metric as a VC fund, how being a VC has influenced Jyotsna’s personality over the years & more. Founded in 2006, Elevar Equity is a VC firm that invests in transformative and scalable ventures focused on underserved customers & low-income communities. Elevar has invested in 40+ companies across India and Latin America, which includes impact driving companies like Ujjivan, Samunnati, LEAD School, The Better India, InCred, Justo, Indifi amongst others. Prior to Elevar, Jyotsna was at HSBC and worked directly with the bank’s India leadership. An SP Jain alum, Jyotsna has over 16+ years of work experience spanning across banking, retail financial services and building businesses as an early-stage investor. You can connect with her here on Linkedin. ---- Show notes – (01:43) Jyotsna’s background & path leading up to Elevar Equity (06:01) Elevar’s DNA - Understanding the pulse of the underserved customer segment in emerging economies (08:50) Unique VC & PE crossover investment style - concentrated bets while investing at very early stages of a company (11:20) Why ‘aspiration’ is the key emotion that founder’s should think about when building for this segment (17:59) Available white spaces for founders to build trusted brands catering to the underserved markets (25:49) Building conviction as a ‘founding investor’ (31:11) North-star metric for a VC fund like Elevar (32:50) How being a VC has influenced Jyotsna’s personality over the years? (36:45) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
41:17
February 13, 2022
EP#51 Rohan Verma – Building Breathe Well-Being, re-inventing chronic care with a community-first approach and nailing the timing of your fundraise
In this episode, Rohan Verma (Co-Founder & CEO, Breathe Well-being), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to entrepreneurship, making the switch from B2B to B2C, the key problem statement that Breathe Well-Being is trying to solve & it’s unique product positioning, key learnings from his entrepreneurship journey, achieving balance & focusing on mental wellness as a founder and the importance of nailing the quantum & timing of your fundraise. Breathe Well-Being is a digital therapeutics company that helps people prevent, manage and reverse chronic conditions using a community-first approach. The startup has built a clinically proven Type 2 Diabetes Reversal Programme which has seen rapid  adoption over the past couple of years & very high retention rates across all it’s cohorts. Breathe Well-Being is backed by marquee VCs like Accel, 3one4 Capital, General Catalyst as well as angel investors like Sandeep Singhal, Ashish Gupta, Stanford Angels among others. Prior to Breathe Well-being, Rohan ran an edtech startup before spending 3 years at McKinsey & Nomura. An alum of NTU Singapore, Rohan is a Crossfit Level 2 trainer & mindfulness coach. You can connect with him here on Linkedin. ---- Show notes – (01:45) Rohan’s background & path leading up to Breathe Well-Being (03:50) The switch from B2B to B2C (11:50) Problem statement & Breathe Well-Being’s unique product positioning (20:55) ‘No outcome, No pay’ policy for clients (26:13) Key learnings from Rohan’s entrepreneurship journey (28:38) Achieving balance & focusing on mental wellness as a founder (31:35) How to assess whether a company is ready to raise venture capital? (37:25) Managing back-to-back funding rounds; Importance of nailing the quantum & timing of your fundraise (39:15) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
46:04
January 23, 2022
EP#50 Amit Gupta – Playing the long game and building category creating startups like InMobi & Yulu
In this episode, Amit Gupta (Co-Founder & CEO, Yulu), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to entrepreneurship, the switch from mobile (InMobi) to mobility (Yulu), evolution of Yulu’s product over the past 5 years, leveraging public & private partnerships to build a strong foundation, what does it take to build a category-creating startup, learnings from previous ventures & the importance of playing the long game, fundraising experience at InMobi & Yulu and his angel investing playbook. Yulu is a micro-mobility platform powered by shared electric two-wheelers that aims to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in India. The startup is backed by marquee investors like Rocketship, Bajaj Auto Ltd, Blume Ventures, 3one4 Capital, Wavemaker, among others. Prior to Yulu, Amit co-founded a mobile adtech platform called InMobi which was one of the first unicorn startups of India. You can connect with him here on Twitter or Linkedin ---- Show notes – (02:42) Amit’s background & path leading up to Yulu (05:38) The switch from mobile (InMobi) to mobility (Yulu) (07:39) Evolution of Yulu’s product over the past 5 years; Impact of Covid-19 on Yulu’s journey (18:00) Leveraging public & private partnerships to build a strong foundation for a new category (23:05) What does it take to build a category-creating startup? (26:25) Learnings from previous ventures - ‘Playing the long game’ (29:41) Fundraising experience at InMobi & Yulu (33:26) Importance of choosing the right investors (38:21) Amit’s angel investing playbook (40:30) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
44:32
December 19, 2021
EP#49 Rajan Bajaj – Building Slice, re-inventing payments & the pursuit of building a quality consumer product for India
In this episode, Rajan Bajaj (Founder & CEO, Slice), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to entrepreneurship, the problem statement & need for a product like Slice today, pivots made since founding the company in 2016, how Slice differentiates itself - both on the product & distribution front, the fundraising challenges faced during early days of Slice and what according to him is the biggest value add from investors.  Slice is a leading fintech startup that aims to build a smart, simple, and transparent financial platform to redesign the financial experience for millennials. Founded in 2016 by a then 22 year old Rajan, Slice went through multiple pivots before launching the physical cards business in 2019. The startup became the latest Indian unicorn after its recent $220mm fundraise led by Tiger Global & Insight Partners. Other existing investors in the startup include marquee VCs like Blume Ventures, Better Capital as well as angels like Kunal Shah, Sachin Bansal among others. An IIT Kharagpur alum, Rajan was part of the product team at Flipkart before founding Slice. You can connect with him here on Twitter or Linkedin.  ----  Show notes –  (01:41) Rajan’s background & path leading up to entrepreneurship  (03:10) Problem statement & need for a product like Slice today  (06:02) Pivots made over the past 5 years - From Buy Now Pay Later to a virtual credit card to a physical credit card  (10:13) How Slice differentiates itself on the product & distribution front?  (17:52) Thoughts on competition & growth potential of the market itself; Go-forward vision for Slice  (22:42) What should founders optimize for when fundraising for their startup?  (26:00) Challenges faced by Slice in it’s fundraising journey; Biggest value add from investors  (32:53) Rapid fire and closing remarks  ----  If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
38:06
December 05, 2021
EP#48 Ritu Verma – Seeding startups that are building for the next billion, challenges faced as a GP and the importance of collaboration in venture capital
In this episode, Ritu Verma (Co-founder & Managing Partner, Ankur Capital), joins our host Digjay, to talk about her path leading up to venture capital, thesis & vision at Ankur Capital, learnings from past investments in Agritech & Healthtech, common blind spots faced by founders in the 0-1 phase, Learnings from Fund I, challenges faced as a GP, collaborating with fellow VCs & more. Ankur Capital is an early stage VC fund that invests in startups with transformative technologies building for the next billion Indians. The fund has invested in some marquee startups like Wasabi, Rupifi, Cropin & Niramai among others. Prior to starting Ankur Capital, Ritu worked on bringing innovation from the lab to the market for companies like Unilever and Philips. An ex-physicist, Ritu also has experience of investing in IP led renewable technologies. She has a PhD in physics from University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from INSEAD. You can connect with her here on Linkedin/Twitter. ---- Show notes – (01:37) Ritu’s background & path leading up to venture capital - physicist to VC (04:58) Thesis & vision at Ankur Capital (10:27) Learnings from investing in Agritech & Healthtech (13:14) Adding value to portfolio startups (16:50) Common blind spots faced by founders in the 0-1 phase (18:48) Learnings from Ankur Capital’s Fund I; Adapting to changing market dynamics (24:08) Collaborating with fellow VCs (26:04) Challenges faced as a General Partner (30:39) Addressing the diversity challenge in VC (34:05) How has being a VC influenced Ritu’s personality over the years (34:39) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
40:34
October 31, 2021
EP#47 Arjun Vaidya – Building Dr. Vaidya’s, overcoming self-doubt as a founder and his approach to fundraising & exits
In this episode, Arjun Vaidya (Venture Lead India, Verlinvest; Ex-CEO, Dr. Vaidya’s), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to entrepreneurship & venture capital, his inspiration behind starting an Ayurveda brand, initial challenges, pivots & overcoming self-doubt as a founder, brand positioning & differentiation, learnings from the fundraising process & how should founders think through an exit transaction. Dr. Vaidya’s is India’s largest D2C Ayurveda brand that offers ayurvedic products to treat illnesses and maintain wellness. Arjun & his co-founder Trisha, successfully exited the business to RPSG in 2021. Post the exit Arjun has now joined Verlinvest as their Venture Lead for India. Verlinvest is a leading family owned evergreen investment group with over €1bn in AUM & investments in companies like BYJU’S, Epigamia and Wakefit among others. Prior to starting Dr. Vaidya’s, Arjun worked at a PE firm called L-Capital. A Brown university alum, Arjun is also an active angel investor (25+ investments) & a mentor to many young DTC founders in the ecosystem. You can connect with him here on Linkedin. ---- Show notes – (01:41) Arjun’s background & path leading up to entrepreneurship & venture capital (02:53) Genesis & inspiration behind starting an Ayurveda brand (09:29) Brand differentiation & identifying what your brand stands for (12:47) Initial challenges, pivoting the business & overcoming self-doubt as a founder (20:11) Fundraising & scaling up - When to raise funding & whom to raise from? (26:18) How to think through an exit decision? (33:01) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
38:23
October 10, 2021
EP#46 Ashish Dave – Evaluating seed vs growth stage startups, the learning-unlearning cycle in VC and balancing between due diligence & speed of decision making
In this episode, Ashish Dave (CEO @Mirae Asset Venture Investments, India), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to venture capital, setting up Mirae’s India Venture arm, due diligence missteps by VCs when optimizing for speed, sharing cross-learnings from other geographies with portfolio companies, evaluating seed & growth stage startups, the constant upskilling & unlearning required in venture capital & more. Mirae Asset Group, a leading financial services company headquartered in South Korea which manages ~$1.5bn across multiple funds. Mirae’s India portfolio includes marquee startups like Ola, BigBasket, Shadowfax, Unacademy, Jupiter among others. Prior to Mirae, Ashish was at Kalaari Capital, a well known early stage VC firm in India & prior to that at Mumbai Angels, one of the prominent angel networks in India where he was actively involved in sourcing new opportunities and helping existing portfolio companies. Ashish is an alum of IE Business School. You can connect with him here on Linkedin/Twitter. ---- Show notes – (01:49) Ashish’s background & path leading up to venture capital - Mumbai Angels, Kalaari & Mirae VC (04:12) Setting up an India dedicated fund at Mirae (07:32) Adapting to the fast & competitive deal making environment in the Indian startup ecosystem (10:49) Potential due diligence missteps by VCs when optimizing for speed (15:12) How can VCs add value to founders? (19:40) Sharing learnings from other geographies with portfolio startups in India (22:17) Evaluating startups at seed vs growth stage (25:56) The constant upskilling & unlearning required in venture capital; importance of getting on ground, gauging customer feedback/behaviour to aid your decision making as an investor (29:39) Advice & suggestions for emerging VCs (35:23) How has being a VC influenced his personality over the years? (37:19) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
42:29
September 26, 2021
EP#45 Aprameya Radhakrishna – Building the vernacular ecosystem for Bharat, lessons on fundraising & identifying the right sounding board as a founder
In this episode, Aprameya Radhakrishna (Co-founder @Koo, Vokal & TaxiForSure), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to entrepreneurship, founding TFS & exiting to Ola, founding Vokal & Koo to build the vernacular ecosystem for India, identifying people that can act as a sounding board, retaining talent, fundraising lessons & more. Koo is a regional language microblogging and social networking platform with >$10mm users, while Vokal is India’s largest vernacular Q&A platform. Prior to Vokal & Koo, Aprameya founded TaxiForSure, a cab hailing platform which was later acquired by Ola for $200mm in 2015. An IIM-Ahmedabad alum, Aprameya is also an active angel investor in the ecosystem & has invested in startups like Pocket Aces, Unacademy, TapChief & Daily Ninja among others. You can connect with him here on Linkedin/Twitter. ---- Show notes: (01:30) Aprameya’s background & path leading up to entrepreneurship - founding Taxi For Sure (TFS) (04:53) Inspiration to start Vokal after the TFS exit (07:40) Key challenges faced when building the vernacular ecosystem for Bharat (13:42) Learnings as a 2nd time entrepreneur (15:45) Decentralizing your organization as you scale; Building a sounding board that can provide you unbiased feedback (20:02) Retaining & building a talent pipeline (23:10) Lessons on fundraising; Onboarding investors that align with your vision and have the patience & appetite to back you in the long run (29:28) Value add from growth stage investors (32:15) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
36:21
September 12, 2021
EP#44 Anurag Ramdasan – The venture capital learning curve, supporting founders in their follow-on fundraise and establishing a strong VC brand
In this episode, Anurag Ramdasan (Partner@ 3one4 Capital), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to 3one4 capital, overcoming the venture capital learning curve & key skill sets required to break into VC, the decision making process at 3one4, learnings from anti-portfolio startups, supporting startups in their follow-on fundraise, establishing a strong VC brand & more. 3one4 Capital is one of the top performing early-stage VC firms in India with a portfolio of 50+ active startups including startups like Koo, Licious, Open, Darwinbox, Betterplace. Anurag leads investments at 3one4 Capital and has been with the fund since its inception in 2016. Anurag spends a lot of his time working with portfolio companies and their founding teams across tech, product, business strategy and fundraising. Previously he led tech & was the first employee at the bay area-based edtech startup, Edcast. Anurag is also the founding member of Code For India, a not-for-profit organisation, centered on getting engineers to work with & develop technology solutions for other NGOs. You can connect with him here on Linkedin/Twitter. ---- Show notes: (01:27) Anurag’s background & path leading up to venture capital (04:42) Overcoming the venture capital learning curve; What skillsets are required to break into VC? (13:51) Decision making process at 3one4 Capital (16:27) Learnings from Anti-portfolio startups (21:14) Supporting startups in their follow-on fundraise; What do the best founders focus on most when raising a follow-on round? (26:07) Establishing a strong VC brand (29:27) How has being a VC influenced Anurag’s personality over the years? (32:17) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
38:36
August 29, 2021
EP#43 Shruti Gandhi – Investing in enterprise tech startups, the operator VC perspective & differentiating oneself as an emerging VC
In this episode, Shruti Gandhi (Founder & Managing Partner @Array Ventures), joins our host Digjay, to talk about her path leading up to venture capital, the evolution of Array’s enterprise tech thesis, how engaging with potential customers can help early stage startups to validate their product & help VCs to support their investment decision, what founders should focus on before thinking about going global, differentiating oneself as an emerging VC, staying ahead of the curve in enterprise tech & more. Array Ventures is an early stage VC fund that invests in enterprise tech startups solving problems using big data, AI & ML for large industries. Shruti has a strong mix of operating and investing experience. Prior to founding Array, Shruti was a tech investor at True Ventures, Samsung Electronics, Lightbank, HighBAR Partners, and the i2A Fund. Shruti started her career with IBM as a software engineer & later founded her own BigData company Penseev in 2010. She also has an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth Business School and completed her engineering in CS from Columbia University. You can connect with her here on Linkedin/Twitter ---- Show notes: (01:44) Shruti’s background & path leading up to Array Ventures (02:56) About Array Ventures; Evolution of Array’s enterprise tech thesis (06:04) How engaging with potential customers can help a) early stage startups to validate their product & b) VCs to support their investment decision (09:40) Building a global enterprise - What should founders focus on before thinking about going global? (14:34) How can emerging VC funds differentiate themselves & build a strong brand? (16:44) Staying relevant & ahead of the curve as an enterprise tech VC (20:15) How has being a VC influenced Shruti’s personality over the years ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
24:02
August 15, 2021
EP#42 Anubhav Jain – Building Rupifi, learnings from Seed to Series A and why speed matters at early stage startups
In this episode, Anubhav Jain (Co-founder & CEO@ Rupifi), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to founding Rupifi, the recent positives & challenges faced by the SMEs, what is embedded finance & it's use cases, Rupifi’s embedded cash-flow based lending model, importance of speed at early stage startups, what founders should optimize for - between Seed & Series A rounds, role of early stage investors in raising subsequent funding rounds & more. Rupifi is a fintech startup that helps MSMEs find suitable financing on different digital B2B platforms and marketplaces using an embedded cash-flow based lending model. Prior to founding Rupifi, Anubhav was the Co-Founder & Head of Risk at Qbera, a personal loan marketplace startup that was later acquired by InCred. Anubhav is a 3-time founder with a strong background in credit risk management & has worked at companies like American Express & Razorpay. An IIM Indore alum, Anubhav is also an occasional angel investor. You can connect with him here on Linkedin/Twitter. ---- Show notes – (01:22) Anubhav’s background & path leading up to Rupifi (05:12) Recent positives & challenges in the Indian MSME sector (12:24) How Rupifi’s cash-flow based embedded lending model solves some of these challenges? (17:10) Embedded finance & its use cases (24:12) Rupifi’s approach towards building an MVP & achieving PMF; Why speed matters at early stage startups? (30:49) Fundraising experience at Rupifi; What should founders optimize for in between Seed & Series A rounds? (38:43) Role of early stage investors in helping startups raise subsequent funding rounds (43:18) How has being a 3-time founder influenced Anubhav’s personality over the years? (45:08) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
48:10
August 01, 2021
EP#41 Sushma Kaushik – Investing in the Bharat opportunity, DNA of impact entrepreneurs & the evolving exit landscape for impact funds
In this episode, Sushma Kaushik (Partner @ Aavishkaar Capital), joins our host Digjay, to talk about her path to VC, the genesis of Aavishkaar Capital & it’s key portfolio startups, the evolution of the fund’s thesis across 4 funds, unlocking of the massive Bharat opportunity, the DNA of impact entrepreneurs, the evolving exit landscape for impact funds & key learnings from Sushma’s decadal experience as a VC. Aavishkaar Capital is an early-stage VC firm & the equity arm of The Aavishkaar Group which is focused on developing the impact ecosystem in Asia and Africa. Aavishkaar Capital has ~$500mm in AUM & has invested in notable companies like Chqbook, Agrostar, Soulfull, Utkarsh Small Finance Bank among others. Sushma has ~18 years of diverse experience in the field of early stage investing, small business incubation and consulting across sectors. An ISB Hyderabad alum, Sushma has also been recognized as “40 under 40 Alternative Investment Professionals in India” in 2017 and one of the “Top 100 women in finance in the leading category”. You can connect with her here on Linkedin/Twitter. ---- Show notes – (01:50) Sushma’s background & path to VC (05:50) Aavishkaar Capital - Genesis, key portfolio companies & evolution of thesis across 4 different funds (11:05) How India’s digitization push has unlocked the massive Bharat opportunity? (18:25) Evaluation framework for impact creating startups; The DNA of impact entrepreneurs (27:40) Evolving exit landscape for impact funds; Importance of making timely exits for LPs (32:55) Key learnings from her decadal experience as a VC (37:05) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
43:29
July 18, 2021
EP#40 Pankaj Mitra – Decoding corporate VC, Cisco’s symbiotic relationship with portfolio startups & collaborating with traditional VC funds
In this episode, Pankaj Mitra (Director & India Head @Cisco Investments), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path to corporate VC, Cisco’s mandate in India, the symbiotic relationship with its portfolio companies, learnings from other enterprise tech ecosystems like US & Israel, difference between Corporate & traditional VC and how Cisco collaborates with & invests in other VC funds. Cisco has a portfolio of ~10 start-ups including - Whatfix, Videonetics, Mobikwik, Mobstac and CloudCherry - that it has already invested in directly or through investment partnerships with VC funds. Cisco is also an LP in VC funds like Aavishkaar, Stellaris Venture Partners & Chiratae Ventures. Prior to joining Cisco Investments in 2018, Pankaj was formerly at Infosys Corporate Development, where he helped enable early stage investments for Infosys’ $500M innovation fund. A UC Berkeley and IIT Kharagpur alum, Pankaj started his career with Delsoft (acq. by Mentor Graphics) & later worked at companies like VMware & Deloitte. You can connect with him here on Linkedin ---- Show notes – (01:46) Pankaj’s background & path leading up to Cisco India (04:07) Cisco’s mandate & sector focus in India; Key portfolio companies (06:47) The symbiotic relationship between Cisco & its portfolio startups (11:33) Learnings from other enterprise tech ecosystems like US & Israel (15:49) How Cisco differentiates itself from other corporate VCs; Cisco’s Launchpad program for early stage startups (18:58) Difference between a Corporate VC & traditional VC (22:08) How Cisco collaborates with & invests (as a LP) in other VC funds (29:29) Learnings from working closely with startups & VCs over the past decade (33:20) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
39:53
July 04, 2021
EP#39 Manish Singhal – Evaluating & backing disruptive ideas, challenges of raising a VC fund and the bull case for deeptech in India
In this episode, Manish Singhal (Founding Partner @Pi Ventures), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path to venture capital, thesis for Pi Ventures & key portfolio startups, framework for evaluating disruptive ideas, fund allocation strategy as an early stage VC, learnings from his failed attempts to raise a venture fund, role of LPs in differentiating yourself as a VC fund & the bull case for deeptech in India. Pi Ventures is an early-stage VC fund focused on investing in disruptive ideas leveraging machine learning, AI, and IoT. So far the fund has backed 13 startups from its 1st fund, which include marquee names like Locus, Agnikul, SigTuple, Pyxis & Wysa. Before founding Pi Ventures, Manish co-founded Lets Venture, a leading angel investment platform in India and worked for over 2 decades in R&D, product & leadership roles in companies like Motorola & Sling Media. An Alumnus of IIT Kanpur, Manish has also contributed to the standardisation of MPEG-4 standard and holds a couple of video technology patents to his name. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – (01:45) Manish’s path to starting Pi Ventures; What inspired him to become a VC? (08:11) Evolution of the fund’s thesis; Key portfolio startups (12:04) Evaluating framework for disruptive ideas - Demand & Supply Resonance map (17:12) Founders’ approach to bridge the gap between a standalone technology/project & a commercial product (19:19) Fund allocation strategy as a VC; Key metrics that influence the follow-on funding decision (23:28) Challenges of raising a VC fund; Learnings from failed attempts to raise money prior to starting Pi (29:06) Role of LPs to differentiate yourself as a VC fund & supporting portfolio startups (31:45) The Bull case for deeptech innovation in India (33:59) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
37:52
June 20, 2021
EP#38 Shruti Kapoor – Building Wingman, unpacking B2B sales and scaling up as an entrepreneur
In this episode, Shruti Kapoor (Co-founder & CEO @Wingman), joins our host Digjay, to talk about her path to entrepreneurship, building Wingman, winning your first 5 customers at a B2B startup, scaling up as an entrepreneur, the Y-Combinator experience & what founders should optimize for when fundraising for their startup. Wingman is a Y-Combinator backed SaaS startup that empowers sales teams with conversation intelligence, actionable insights on successful playbooks and delivers real-time coaching. The company has also raised funding from notable VCs like Speciale Invest & Venture Highway. Since the start of her career, Shruti has worked across lifesciences research, investment banking, technology investing, commercialization, product development, fin-tech. Prior to Wingman, Shruti was part of Payoneer India's founding team & led the company’s go-to-market strategy. You can connect with her here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:30) Shruti’s path to becoming an entrepreneur 2. (04:10) The ‘Why’ behind starting Wingman - genesis & problem statement 3. (07:00) Unpacking B2B ‘Sales’; Wingman’s role in empowering the Sales function of an org 4. (13:20) Key learnings from the 0 to 1 phase of a startup; The approach to winning your first 5 customers 5. (20:03) Scaling up as an entrepreneur as you scale your business; The Y-combinator experience 6. (24:45) Timing your fundraise while still trying to achieve product-market fit; What to optimize for, when fundraising for your startup? 7. (29:20) Leveraging your investors post the fundraise 8. (30:45) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter
34:43
June 06, 2021
EP#37 Abhishek Goyal – The VC to founder journey, entrepreneurship lessons from the VC experience & investing in Flipkart
In this episode, Abhihshek Goyal, Co-founder @Tracxn & Serial Angel Investor, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his exciting journey as an entrepreneur, VC & an angel investor, learnings from his previous startups & scaling his latest venture – Tracxn, how being a VC & an angel investor influences his operating style as an entrepreneur, Abhishek’s investment in Flipkart, his approach to angel investing & fundraising advice for founders. Abhishek started his career with Yahoo & Amazon and also founded two startups before joining Accel Partners. After working for 3 years at Accel, Abhishek plunged back into entrepreneurship, and launched two more startups — UrbanTouch (which was later acquired by online fashion flash sales retailer FashionAndYou), and his current venture Tracxn, an online startup discovery platform for VC funds. Tracxn is backed by angels like Ratan Tata, Nandan Nilekani, Sachin Bansal, Girish Mathrubootham & VCs like Sequoia, Accel & Prime VP. Besides being a serial entrepreneur & ex-VC, Abhishek is also a serial angel investor who has invested in 100+ startups through personal & institutional capital. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:51) Abhishek’s journey as an entrepreneur, VC & an angel investor 2. (04:02) Tracxn - Genesis & problem statement; Starting up in US & then scaling the team in India 3. (08:37) Learnings from the previous startups that helped build a strong foundation at Tracxn 4. (09:53) How being a VC & an angel investor influences his operating style as an entrepreneur? 5. (13:13) Investing in Flipkart – The funding backstory 6. (18:23) Approach to angel investing; What motivates Abhishek to back early stage startups? 7. (26:41) Founder perspective – Pitfalls to avoid when raising funds from angels & value-add expectations 8. (30:33) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify & Apple iTunes. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
34:26
May 16, 2021
EP#36 Anshuman Bapna – The massive cleantech opportunity, building a strong culture at a remote-first startup and managing pivots & exits as a founder
In this episode, Anshuman Bapna, Founder @Terra, joins our host Digjay, to talk about the ‘why’ & ‘how’ behind his latest venture - Terra, investor trends & the massive opportunity in clean tech, building a strong culture at a remote first startup, managing pivots & how should a founder think about exits. Terra is an online climate school which is on a mission to activate 100 million highly-skilled, climate-conscious professionals by 2030. The company aims to turn climate focused intentions into real world impactful actions. An alumnus of IIT-Bombay and Stanford Business School, Anshuman is a serial entrepreneur who has founded & exited multiple startups in the past, including traveltech startup mygola, Democracy Connect, and RightHalf.com. Prior to starting Terra, Anshuman was the Chief Product Officer at MakemyTrip. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:24) Anshuman’s background & path leading up to Terra 2. (04:22) The ’Why’ behind starting Terra; Building the talent stack for the climate economy 3. (07:59) The massive clean tech opportunity - Investor trends across India & US 4. (13:14) Terra’s mission & outlook for the next decade 5. (16:20) Building a strong culture at a remote-first startup 6. (22:04) Managing pivots - key principles to help make the decision 7. (26:25) Fundraising approach as a 1st time & 2nd/3rdtime founder 8. (32:56) Thoughts on approaching exits as a fouder; How founders can derive maximum value from an exit opportunity? 9. (37:18) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify & Apple iTunes. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
44:19
April 25, 2021
EP#35 Sanjay Swamy – Identifying category creating startups, adding value as an operator VC & finding investor-founder fit
In this episode, Sanjay Swamy, Managing Partner @Prime Venture Partners (Prime), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his journey as an entrepreneur & now as a VC, the genesis story & investment philosophy at Prime, adding value as an operator VC, finding investor-founder fit, identifying & backing category creating startups and the VC-founder relationship at Prime. Prime VP is an early-stage VC fund focused on backing category-creating tech companies out of India building for the local and global markets. It has a portfolio of 25 startups so far, which includes startups like Recko, MyGate, MoneyTap & Dozee among others. Before starting Prime in 2012, Sanjay took up multiple roles at companies like mCheck & Ezetap. Sanjay also co-founded ZipDial, which was later acquired by Twitter in 2015. Sanjay started his career in the Silicon Valley in 1992, working with companies like Integrated Systems, Xerox, Portal Software before returning to India in 2003. Sanjay is also a volunteer at iSPIRT and played a prominent role on the UIDAI project under the leadership of Nandan Nilekani. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:43) Sanjay’s background & path leading up to Prime 2. (07:57) The opportunities that led him to start Prime along with his co-founders; The investment philosophy at Prime 3. (11:27) Adding value to the portfolio companies as an Operator VC; Finding investor-founder fit 4. (17:38) Evolution of the startup landscape & Prime’s investment approach since starting the first fund in 2012 5. (21:31) Why Prime VP likes to back category creating startups? How to evaluate & identify such startups? 6. (30:23) Advice for young VCs – Building trust & supporting founders 7. (34:23) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify & Apple iTunes. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
38:22
April 11, 2021
EP#34 Rahul Mathur – The ‘build in public’ approach for startups, challenges faced by a first time founder and the Insurtech landscape in India
In this episode, Rahul Mathur, Founder & CEO @BimapPe, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his background & path leading upto BimaPe, the current insurtech landscape in India, striking a balance between founder vision & customer feedback, challenges faced as a first time founder, key advantages of ‘building in public’, fundraising at a pre-product stage and benefits of having multi-stage investors on your cap table. BimaPe is a Mumbai based Insurtech startup that is trying to demystify insurance and its management for individuals and families across India. Prior to starting BimaPe, Rahul was the Startup Lead at Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Lab and a Product Manager at Laka Insurance, an early-stage InsurTech startup based in London. He is also an Ambassador at the Asia InsurTech podcast. Rahul holds a master’s degree in Statistics from the University of Warwick. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:25) Rahul’s background & path leading upto BimaPe 2. (03:06) Current insurtech landscape in India – key wins & challenges 3. (07:46) The problem that BimaPe is trying to solve in the insurance space 4. (12:21) Striking a balance between founder vision & customer feedback 5. (16:30) Challenges faced as a first time founder 6. (22:27) Going from unorganized to organized chaos in the early stages of a startup 7. (27:16) Advantages of ‘building in public’ 8. (31:08) Fundraising at a pre-product stage; Benefits of having multi-stage investors on your cap table 9. (38:50) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify & Apple iTunes. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
43:02
March 28, 2021
EP#33 Anirudh Damani – The micro-VC investment model, cap table discipline by founders & learnings from investing in 85+ startups
In this episode, Anirudh Damani, Managing Partner @Artha Venture Fund, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path to VC, investing in startups through his family office before starting his own fund, benefits & mechanics behind managing a micro VC fund, Artha’s investment thesis, fund allocation & deal sourcing strategies, and how founders can keep their cap tables clean in their initial funding rounds. Artha Venture Fund is an early-stage sector agnostic fund that has been investing in start-ups since early 2012. Prior to launching the fund, Anirudh was an active angel investor in many early-stage startups. Anirudh also owns Artha Energy Resources and is the MD and CEO at Artha Group of Companies. He also serves as a member of the Advisory Board at Venture Catalysts. Anirudh holds a double major in economics and business administration from Austin College. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:37) Anirudh’s background & path to VC 2. (07:55) Returning to India & investing in startups through his family office 3. (13:59) Difference between running a family office & a VC fund 4. (16:47) Benefits of managing a micro VC fund; Preference of managing multiple micro funds vs a single mega VC fund 5. (20:24) Artha’s investment thesis, fund allocation strategy & key investments 6. (28:02) Deal sourcing - Partnering with accelerators, referrals from portfolio founders & co-investors 7. (30:10) Why is it important for founders to keep their cap table clean? 8. (33:21) Learnings from investing in 85+ startups 9. (35:44) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify & Apple iTunes. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
40:45
March 14, 2021
EP#32 Vindhya C – Unpacking product management, building ‘customer-centric’ products & founder-product manager dynamics
In this episode, Vindhya C, Founder @OnThatJob / Product @Pexels, joins our host Digjay, to talk about her experience as a product consultant with early stage startups, the typical lifecycle of a product & how modern no-code creator tools are changing that, building ‘customer-centric’ products, common missteps by founders at the MVP & product-market-fit stage of a startup, identifying and hiring good product managers & Founder-PM dynamics. ‘OnThatJob’ is a cohort-based learning program that helps people understand the scope of a specific job, especially in the early stages of a startup. Vindhya, popular on Product Twitter as Vindytalks, is known for her blogs on Product Management & consulting early stage startups. She also won Hacker Noon’s PM of the year award in 2019. Prior to joining Pexels, Vindhya worked in various product roles at startups like Loco (Pocket Aces) & Directi. You can connect with her here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (03:30) Typical lifecycle of a product; How ‘No-code’ tools have inverted that lifecycle – sharing the end-product first & working backwards to build the product 2. (07:19) Different approaches to build a ‘customer-centric’ product 3. (09:26) Founder missteps at the MVP & PMF stage 4. (12:45) Different roles of a Product Manager; Org structures within startups that can empower product managers 5. (18:57) Strategizing vs actually building the product; When to adopt an experiment & fail fast approach 6. (25:46) When should a founder hire a product manager? Identifying & hiring good product managers 7. (33:10) Founder-PM dynamics; passing over responsibilities 8. (36:53) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify & Apple iTunes. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
42:02
February 28, 2021
EP#31 Dhimant Parekh – Building The Better India, the shift from content to commerce & the role of community in establishing a strong brand
In this episode, Dhimant Parekh, Founder & CEO @The Better India, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his journey building Asia’s largest content platform for impact, his learnings from the 0-1 phase, importance of developing deep customer relationships, leveraging community to build a strong consumer brand & his fundraising experience at The Better India. Dhimant along with his co-founder & wife Anuradha started The Better India in 2008, right after graduating from ISB. What started as a side project then has now scaled up to become Asia’s largest content platform for impact. Later the duo also launched a new vertical called The Better Home which is India’s first sustainability focused subscription product company. Prior to becoming a founder, Dhimant worked in various product roles at Intuit, Hoopos.com & is considered to be one of the top Product Mentors for startups in India. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:27) The ‘why’ & ‘how’ behind starting The Better India 2. (06:52) Learnings from & challenges faced in the 0-1 phase 3. (12:50) The shift from content to commerce powered by community 4. (18:55) Importance of developing deep customer relationships; Leveraging community to build a strong consumer brand 5. (22:39) Context switching between long & short-term decision making as a founder 6. (25:08) Fundraising challenges; Picking the right investors to partner with 7. (30:53) Rapid fire and closing remark ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify & Apple iTunes. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
36:30
February 21, 2021
EP#30 Prasanna K – Understanding SaaS fundamentals, building Upekkha & accelerating growth for SaaS startups
In this episode, Prasanna K, Founding Partner @Upekkha Catalyst, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading upto Upekkha, the fundamentals of a SaaS business, validating the need for your product, acquiring your first 50 customers & retaining them, what is value SaaS  & how Upekkha is helping founders scale their SaaS business & more.  Upekkha is a Value SaaS Accelerator working with B2B SaaS startups to help them scale & achieve profitable growth. Prasanna has >15yrs of experience in tech & product at firms like Amazon & Tejas Networks. Prior to starting Upekkha, Prasanna worked closely with 120+ startups at Microsoft’s India accelerator. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (00:09) Prasanna’s background & path to Upekkha; Fundamentals of a SaaS business (Software as a Service) 2. (08:05) Validating your product; Acquiring your first 50 customers & retaining them 3. (17:20) Characteristics of a successful SaaS founder; Strategic hiring of initial team members 4. (21:48) The inspiration behind starting Upekkha; What is Value SaaS? 5. (24:50) Why most SaaS startups die due to capital indigestion vs capital starvation? 6. (29:47) Upekkha’s operating model & how it helps SaaS startups in scaling up 7. (30:57) SaaS Outlook for India & the world 8. (34:05) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes, Google Podcasts. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
39:25
February 14, 2021
EP#29 Rajiv Srivatsa – Co-building startups at Antler India, the Urban Ladder experience & unpacking the fundraising lifecycle of a startup
In this episode, Rajiv Srivatsa, Partner @Antler India & Co-founder @Urban Ladder, joins our host Digjay, to talk about the Antler India program, building & scaling Urban Ladder, raising funds from Mr. Ratan Tata, difference in fundraising approach between 0-1 & 1-10 stage, managing stakeholders expectations & overcoming valleys of death as a founder. Prior to joining Antler India, Rajiv co-founded Urban Ladder (UL), one of India's top omni-channel furniture brand. Over ~8 years, UL raised over $100mm from top Indian VCs, like Kalaari Capital, SAIF Partners (now Elevation Capital) & Steadview Capital. Prior to UL, he served as a Sr Product Manager with Yahoo. An IIT Madras/ IIM Bangalore alum, Rajiv has been featured multiple times on the Fortune 40 U/ 40 India list. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter  ----  Show notes:  1. (01:35) Rajiv’s background; Antler’s mission & entry into India  2. (08:06) Unpacking the fundraising lifecycle of a startup  3. (12:06) Antler India operating model  4. (18:19) Building & scaling Urban ladder  5. (28:35) Raising funds from Mr. Ratan Tata; Difference in fundraising between 0-1 & 1-10 stage of a startup  6. (30:49) Managing expectations of different stakeholders of a company  7. (37:57) Overcoming valleys of death as a founder  8. (41:36) How being an entrepreneur has shaped Rajiv’s personality over the years?  9. (44:46) Rapid fire and closing remarks  ----  If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes, Google Podcasts. We would really appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter
48:20
February 07, 2021
EP#28 Raja Ganapathy – The ‘skin-in-the-game’ marketing model, partnering with founder-led companies & building a strong VC brand
In this episode, Raja Ganapathy, Founding Partner @Spring Marketing Capital, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his background and path to venture capital, the gap in the marketing ecosystem and how Spring Marketing Capital aims to plug that using their skin-in-the-game model, importance of articulating the founder’s vision & how it impacts product roadmap, the brand as well as the culture of a startup, his experience working as a CMO at Sequoia India & how new age VC firms can build a strong brand to attract founders. Raja has worked with founders for most of his working life of 24+ years - first with Ogilvy & Brand David, and later as CMO with Sequoia India, before starting Spring Marketing Capital with his co-founders Arun Iyer & Vineet Gupta. Through his career, Raja has partnered with some well-known brands like Byju’s, CARS24, Cred, Daily Hunt, Wakefit, Epigamia, among others. You can connect with him here on Linkedin/Twitter ---- Show notes: (01:42) Raja’s background & path to venture capital (04:02) The big gap in the marketing ecosystem; The ‘skin in the game’ model at Spring Marketing Capital (08:32) How Spring Marketing differs from typical ad agencies? (12:08) Raising funds from LPs; Thesis & investment model (16:57) Working with founders to define the core value proposition of their product/service (22:48) Importance of clearly articulating the founder’s vision & how it helps in defining the culture of a startup (26:49) When should founders spend on marketing? (31:57) CMO experience at Sequoia (36:26) Building a strong VC brand like Sequoia, a16z (40:02) Rapid fire & closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes, Google Podcasts. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin/Twitter 
46:57
January 31, 2021
EP#27 Vaibhav Domkundwar – Building leverage as a founder, simplifying decision making for investors & bootstrapping vs fundraising
In this episode, Vaibhav Domkundwar, Founder & CEO @Better Capital, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path to angel investing, learnings as a 2x entrepreneur, about Better Capital, evaluating founders at early-stage startups, bootstrapping vs fundraising, building leverage as a founder & how to build your brand as a first-time angel investor.  Vaibhav is a UC Berkeley alum, a 2x entrepreneur & now a full-time investor. He founded 2 companies - Roamware which was acquired by PE firm Audax, and Better which was a self-financed startup studio that has now evolved into an early stage venture firm. Today, Better has a strong portfolio of 80+ companies which includes startups like Khatabook, OPEN Bank, Rupeek, TestBook, Yulu. You can connect with Vaibhav here on Linkedin/Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes & Google Podcasts. We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes This will help others discover the podcast. For more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem, you can visit thevcpreneur.com & follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin& Twitter ---- Show notes – (01:26) Vaibhav’s background; Portfolio strategy when investing in seed stage startups (10:46) Evaluating early-stage founders; Gut feel vs data driven decision making  (15:17) How founders can simplify decision making for investors? (19:43) How founders can attract people that share the same passion & drive for their startup? (23:49) Bootstrapping vs Fundraising; Seeking support of investors as you scale up (29:20) Building leverage as a founder (30:37) Building a brand & adding value as an angel investor (36:47) Rapid fire & closing remarks
42:33
January 24, 2021
EP#26 Vinay Bansal – Democratizing angel investing & growing with startups
In this episode, Vinay Bansal, Co-founder & CEO @Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), joins our host Digjay, to talk about the genesis of IPV, building a trust based platform for both founders & investors, funding startups from Seed to Series A/B and how IPV operates like an angel network while helping founders like VCs & PEs do.  Vinay is a finance professional with 20+ years of experience across Fortune 50 companies, private equity & startups. Last, he was Senior Advisor at TPG Global & before that CFO/CIO at Wildcraft India. He is a Chartered Accountant by qualification and spent the first 14 years of his career in leadership positions across Financial Management & Manufacturing / Supply-chain sourcing functions at GE & Hindustan Unilever. You can connect with him here on Linkedin  ----  If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes & Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter  ----  Show notes –  (01:30) Vinay’s background; About Inflection Point Ventures (IPV) – genesis & operating model  (06:45) Building a trust based ecosystem for both founders & investors; Onboarding ~3k investors on the platform  (09:42) Differentiating IPV from other angel investment platforms  (13:00) Selection criteria & lifecycle of a startup at IPV  (18:00) How IPV supports founders that do not end up raising funds through their platform?  (20:48) Funding startups from Seed to Series A/B; How IPV operates like an angel network while adding value to startups like VCs & PEs?  (27:20) Rapid fire and closing remarks
33:04
January 17, 2021
EP#25 Karthik Venkateswaran – Building Jumbotail, scaling a marketplace model & hiring for values
In this episode, Karthik Venkateswaran, Co-founder & CEO @Jumbotail, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his journey from serving in the Indian army to founding his own startup, the challenges of scaling a marketplace model, hiring employees based on the company’s core values, advantage of going deep in one market before scaling to other geographies, and what founders should particularly look for in their seed stage investors. Jumbotail aims to organise the food & grocery ecosystem in India using technology & has raised close to $50mm in funding so far from a range of Indian as well as international VC funds. Karthik is an alumnus of National Defence Academy and served in the Indian Army for 10 years, with several tenures in hard combat.  He then went on to complete his MBA from Stanford, worked as a Senior Product Manager in ebay US and Director-Products in Flipkart, prior to starting Jumbotail in 2015. Karthik is passionate about building products & technology that will create more economic opportunities for the food and grocery ecosystem, and make commerce more accessible and convenient for the next 1 billion Indians. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:40) Karthik & Ashish’s background; Inspiration behind starting Jumbotail 2. (05:30) Jumbotail’s solutions for India’s fragmented food & grocery market 3. (12:15) Overcoming initial challenges and scaling a marketplace model 4. (19:04) Why hiring the right team is extremely critical for a startup’s success? Unpacking Jumbotail’s unique ‘values’ based hiring & appraisal system 5. (23:30) Leveraging macro tailwinds, staying agile and focusing on depth (vs breadth) while scaling up 6. (30:00) Learnings from Jumbotail’s fundraising experience; What founders should look for in their seed stage investors? 7. (35:40) Rapid fire and closing remarks
40:40
January 10, 2021
EP#24 Sasha Mirchandani – Angel investing to venture capital, learnings from missed investment opportunities & building a legacy VC fund
In this episode, Sasha Mirchandani, Founder & Managing Partner @Kae Capital & Co-founder @Mumbai Angels, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his learnings from investing in startups over the last 2 decades – from being an angel investor in early 2000s to starting his own VC fund in 2012, how Kae Capital leverages it’s LPs to add value to their portfolio startups, building a legacy VC fund, Sasha’s list of anti-portfolio startups (Oyo, Ola, Meesho, Unacademy) & key learnings from these missed opportunities. Sasha founded Kae Capital in 2012 which is a Mumbai based sector agnostic VC fund that usually invests in seed stage startups. Some of its investments include 1mg, Nua, Porter, Zetwerk among others. Previously, Sasha was a Managing Director at Blue Run Ventures India, CEO and Founder of Imercius Technologies and Head of Corporate Affairs/New Businesses at Mirc Electronics (Onida). Sasha founded Mumbai Angels in 2006 which is among the top angel investment networks in India that connects startups with investors & professionals willing to invest in them. Sasha is among the first batch of angel investors in the country, is known for making early investments in companies like Fractal, InMobi & Myntra and was recently inducted in TiE Mumbai’s Hall of Fame as an Outstanding Angel Investor. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:34) Sasha’s background; Starting Mumbai Angels in 2006 2. (03:54) Initial learnings as an angel investor 3. (07:09) Difference in investment approach between a VC and an angel investor 4. (09:04) About Kae Capital – Thesis, Fund size and portfolio composition 5. (10:36) What should VCs consider when choosing their LPs? Leveraging LPs to support portfolio startups 6. (14:39) Exit criteria for VCs; Why VCs need to put more thought on mitigating risks post investment and timing their exits? 7. (17:23) Learnings from his anti-portfolio and avoiding biases when evaluating startups 8. (19:49) Improvement in founder quality over the past 2 decades 9. (22:54) Rapid fire and closing remarks
27:12
December 20, 2020
EP#23 Vishesh Rajaram – Backing mission-oriented founders & investing in disruptive tech startups
In this episode, Vishesh Rajaram, Founder & Managing Partner @Speciale Invest, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his learnings as a venture capitalist (VC) – at Venture East earlier and now at Speciale Invest, backing early-stage startups in disruptive technology domains like Space-tech, micro-mobility, clean energy & robotics, how deep-tech startups can reduce risk and gain trust of investors and iterating investment strategies as a VC. Vishesh who has about 13 years of experience across enterprise technologies and consumer services. Vishesh started his venture capital journey with Venture East in 2007, one of India’s oldest VC firms. After spending almost a decade at Venture East, Vishesh founded Speciale Invest in 2016. Speciale Invest is an early-stage investment firm that focuses on B2B deeptech startups across both hardware & software and has been an early pioneer of domains like Space tech, Robotics, Deep tech software, micro-mobility, and clean energy transportation. So far, it has invested in about a dozen startups, including the likes of Agnikul, Utlraviolet, Truelark and Wingman, among others. Vishesh is a Chartered Accountant and an alum of the Indian School of Business. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:59) Vishesh’s path leading up to venture capital 2. (06:02) Learnings from a decadal experience of being a VC 3. (08:40) Founder-insight fit; Backing startups that are building technologies of the future 4. (14:46) Key headwinds for Deep tech / IP driven startups to thrive in India; How founders gain trust of and reduce risk for investors? 5. (20:22) What does Speciale Invest particularly look for in founders that are pursuing hardware/deep tech opportunities? 6. (21:57) Adding value to startups beyond just the capital 7. (23:55) Evolving VC landscape; Overcoming long feedback cycles and iterating investment strategies as a VC 8. (28:13) Key principles to build a strong institutional VC brand 9. (30:25) Rapid fire and closing remarks
33:54
December 13, 2020
EP#22 Priya Mohan – Lessons from an entrepreneur turned VC, key considerations when evaluating an exit and importance of maintaining mental wellbeing for VCs & founders
In this episode, Priya Mohan, Startup Sensei @Venture Highway, joins our host Digjay, to talk about her learnings as an entrepreneur and a VC, selling to Byju’s, evaluating exit opportunities, choosing the right VCs, embracing vulnerability and the importance of maintaining mental wellbeing for VCs and founders. Venture Highway is an early-stage VC fund that invests in tech-enabled startups across different sectors. Before Venture Highway, Priya co-founded Vidyartha, an educational technology platform for students in grades 6-12, which she exited successfully to Byju’s - an Indian edtech unicorn. Prior to her operating role at Vidyartha, Priya spent 9 years working as a sell-side investment banker and equity research analyst, where she helped high-growth companies raise private equity, structure and execute complex transactions. These included private investments, secondary sales, and buyouts. Priya is a Chartered Accountant and has a Masters of Business Administration from the Indian School of Business (ISB). You can connect with her here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:21) Priya’s background and path leading up to venture capital 2. (02:41) Building Vidyartha – a K12 edtech startup; Lessons from being a first-time entrepreneur 3. (08:53) Key considerations when evaluating an exit opportunity 4. (15:41) Why entrepreneurs should be radically honest with themselves and ask tough questions when deciding between the next fundraise and an exit opportunity? 5. (19:36) About Venture Highway; How startups can benefit from the Silicon Valley connect 6. (23:38) Pros & Cons of having VCs with an operating background; What should founders be cognizant about when choosing VCs to pitch for their fundraise? 7. (27:53) Economic benefits of maintaining mental wellbeing for VCs and founders? 8. (31:39) Rapid fire and closing remarks
37:15
December 06, 2020
EP#21 Bhaskar Majumdar – The value of GPs with complementary skill sets, learnings from investing in startups from different geographies & the art of identifying exit opportunities
In this episode, Bhaskar Majumdar, Founder & Managing Partner @Unicorn India Ventures, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his experience as an entrepreneur & and an investor, challenges faced by first time VCs, importance of having complementary skillsets among General Partners, overcoming long feedback cycles and being agile as a VC fund and the art & science of evaluating exit opportunities as a founder. In the past decade, Bhaskar has established himself as a well-regarded early stage investor and advisor, especially in the UK and India. He has exited businesses as an entrepreneur and as an investor and brings a strong sense of positioning businesses for exit. He has held senior corporate positions with Times of India, Zee Telefilms and Altavista UK. An Alumni of IIT Kharagpur and an AMP from Harvard, Bhaskar is very active in the angel community network in UK and in India. You can connect with him here on Linkedin/ Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:25) Bhaskar’s background and path leading up to venture capital; About Unicorn India Ventures (UIV) 2. (04:50) Portfolio composition; What UIV looks for in founders before investing? 3. (10:10) How startups can benefit from the cross-border network & international portfolio of venture funds? 4. (12:31) Finding the right Partner when starting a VC fund; importance of having complementary skillsets among Partners 5. (15:59) Challenges faced when raising a new VC fund; Key things to look for in a first time VC/fund manager 6. (20:30) Learnings from the 1stUIV fund and the change in strategy for its 2nd fund 7. (23:11) Evaluating exit opportunities as a founder; What should early stage founders focus on to build a strong foundation to scale their startup? 8. (32:38) Rapid fire and closing remarks
35:39
November 29, 2020
EP#20 Utsav Somani – The AngelList India journey, advantage of having good angel investors on your cap table & starting a micro fund to bridge the gap between India & the Silicon Valley
In this episode, Utsav Somani, Partner @AngelList India & @iSeed, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his exciting journey & vision at AngelList India, the asymmetric upside from writing good cold emails, advantage of having angel investors on your cap table along with institutional VC funds, and starting his own micro fund iSeed, to bridge the gap between India & the Silicon Valley AngelList is platform that is democratizing angel investing and helping startups with fundraising, launching products and hiring talent. Besides leading AngelList India, Utsav is also an experienced angel investor with a portfolio of more than 30 companies which includes the likes of BharatPe, Innov8, LogiNext, Mall91 and many more. He has recently launched his new micro-VC fund called iSeed – which is India's first micro-fund backed by top global founders and investors. The fund will invest in about 30 early-stage Indian startups with an average check of $150k. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:31)  Utsav’s background and path leading up to AngelList India; His life changing ‘cold email’ to Naval Ravikant 2. (04:41) Writing a good cold email; Zero downside, Unlimited upside 3. (07:51) Why entrepreneurship & angel investing is glamourized? 4. (10:16) What should founders look for in an angel investor? Common missteps that founders should avoid during their first fundraise 5. (14:36) Learnings as an entrepreneur while scaling up AngelList in India; AngelList’s mission & vision for startups in India 6. (19:54) About Utsav’s latest micro seed fund – iSeed; Bridging the gap between Indian entrepreneurs & Silicon Valley 7. (24:05) Founder personalities & sectors that iSeed is looking to back 8. (27:26) Rapid fire and closing remarks Mentioned in this episode: Utsav’s article about the different types of investors & what founders should be mindful of when raising capital Sumukh Sridhara’s (Head of Product & Engineering, AngelList India) episode on The VCpreneur podcast
31:13
November 22, 2020
EP#19 Mikhil Innani – Making a career in startups, leading and measuring growth at scale ups & building the AWS of lending
In this episode, Mikhil Innani, Managing Director & CEO @Apollo Finvest, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his varied experiences of scaling products across multiple startups (Pharmeasy, CouponDunia, Hotstar), cultivating a strong team culture at early stages of a startup, defining and measuring growth when scaling up & how he is building the AWS of lending at his latest venture – Apollo Finvest. Apollo Finvest is a public listed NBFC which is currently building the "AWS for Lending" platform enabling fintechs to offering digital loans in
41:16
November 15, 2020
EP#18 Rajul Garg – Building a personal brand in venture capital, collaboration & competition among VCs & why fundraising is an important skillset for a founder
In this episode, Rajul Garg, Founder & Managing Partner @Leo Capital, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his experience of being an entrepreneur, an angel investor & now a venture capitalist. He also talks about collaboration & competition among VCs, importance of building a personal brand in venture capital, Founder-VC fit and why he thinks fundraising should be a core skillset for a founder today. Leo Capital is an early stage VC fund that makes tech investments into India, SEA and US companies. Some of their portfolio companies include the likes of Sheroes, BeatO, Edureka, Flixstock. Rajul was the founder of Pine Labs, the largest PoS payment company in India and GlobalLogic, a leader in outsourced product development – both of which are multi-billion dollar businesses today. Before starting Leo Capital, Rajul consulted with top tier venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital and Aavishkaar and was a sought after angel investor. He also founded Sunstone, an innovative technology-led business school. Rajul is an alum of IIT Delhi. You can reach out to him here on Linkedin / Twitter. ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:20) Rajul’s path leading upto venture capital – from being a 3x entrepreneur, to becoming an angel investor and now a VC 2. (03:05) Challenges faced when starting Leo Capital and raising external funds 3. (04:25) About Leo Capital – Thesis, Fund size & sector focus; What differentiates Leo Capital vs other VC funds 4. (07:30) Choosing the right investor for your startup; Founder-VC fit 5. (11:55) Why fundraising is an important skillset for founders today? 6. (19:30) Dynamics among different VCs in the ecosystem – competition & collaboration 7. (21:52) Importance of building an individual brand equity as a VC 8. (23:40) Rajul’s learnings as an entrepreneur building Pine Labs & GlobalLogic 9. (27:00) How much equity should founders ideally retain at Seed stage? 10. (31:30) Rapid fire and closing remarks
34:43
November 08, 2020
EP#17 Ishpreet Gandhi – Decoding venture debt, key use cases & benefits to founders and the outlook for venture debt in India
In this episode, Ishpreet Gandhi, Founder & Managing Partner @Stride Ventures, joins our host Digjay, to talk about the rise of venture debt as a funding alternative for startups, specific use cases & benefits of venture debt to founders, how Stride Ventures differentiates itself from traditional venture debt firms & the outlook for venture debt in India. Stride Ventures is a venture-debt fund focused on lending to growth-stage startups with investments in companies such as LetsTransport, Stellapps & Sugar Cosmetics. Ishpreet has over 13 years of experience encompassing Banking, Private Equity and Venture Capital. During his last stint as Regional Head (North & East) at IDFC Bank, he spearheaded startup business by initiating the lending business across Fintech, Consumer, Logistics and Agritech space. Ishpreet is an alum of Delhi University. You can reach out to him here on Linkedin / Twitter. ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:09) Ishpreet’s path leading upto venture capital; Starting Stride Ventures 2. (05:32) How Venture debt differs from typical bank loans? 3. (06:30) Key criteria & due diligence measures before lending to startups 4. (10:02) Venture debt use cases for startups 5. (14:12) Typical structure of venture debt deals 6. (16:45) How Stride Ventures adds value to startups beyond providing debt capital? 7. (21:12) Challenges of starting a Venture debt firm 8. (22:50) Why should LPs invest their money in Venture Debt? 9. (24:53) The outlook for Venture Debt in India 10. (28:32) Rapid fire and closing remarks
31:43
November 01, 2020
EP#16 Anirudh Pandita – Adopting a beginner’s mindset to build disruptive products, the data driven approach to distribution & key tenets to cultivate a strong team culture
In this episode, Anirudh Pandita, Founder @Pocket Aces, joins our host Digjay, to talk about the art & science of building products in the content space, the data-driven approach to cracking distribution, the value in adopting a beginner’s mindset to come up with disruptive innovation & the importance of building a strong team culture as you scale your startup Pocket Aces is a new-age, socially-distributed, digital entertainment company, making highly engaging content for the millennial audience. The company operates multiple content brands including FilterCopy (short videos), Dice Media (multi-episode web series), Gobble (lifestyle videos), Jambo (young-adult animation shorts) and Nutshell (infotainment videos), as well as Loco (game streaming and e-sports app) with 500million+ monthly views across these platforms. The company is backed by prominent investors like Sequoia India, DSP Group and 3one4 Capital. Anirudh, along with co-founders Ashwin Suresh and Aditi Shrivastava, has won several 40 under 40 awards from the likes of Fortune, Social Samosa, IMPACT and BWDisrupt in 2019. Prior to founding Pocket Aces, Anirudh was at Valo Group LLC, a value-oriented hedge fund, based in Philadelphia. Anirudh is a Wharton alum, a Liverpool FC fan, massive cricket buff, and a film fanatic. You can connect with him here on Twitter/Linkedin ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:33) Anirudh’s unconventional journey - Leaving behind his career in Private Equity/Hedge Fund to start a digital content & entertainment business 2. (10:45) The art & science of building products & achieving product-market fit in the content space 3. (12:17) The 0 to 1 journey; Testing hypothesis & launching products using a quick to market, inexpensive fail fast approach 4. (14:43) Cracking distribution - by taking into account different use cases of your product & by understanding consumer needs 5. (17:25) Importance of building a strong team culture as you scale your startup 6. (22:48) Using a beginner’s mindset to disrupt a specific market; Fundraising challenges 7. (28:55) How investors can add value beyond providing the funding dollars? 8. (31:38) Rapid fire and closing remarks
37:15
October 25, 2020
EP#15 Smita Aggarwal – The incentive to build for the underserved markets & investing in impact creating fintechs
In this episode, Smita Aggarwal, Global Investments Advisor @Flourish Ventures, joins our host Digjay, to talk about her path leading up to Venture Capital, key criteria for investing in impact creating startups, the untapped Fintech opportunities in India, the incentive to build products for the underserved markets & how VCs play a role in evolution of founders. In her present role with Flourish Ventures, a global fintech focused fund of the Omidyar Group, Smita invests in innovative fintech start-ups that help advance financial health and inclusion in Asia. Previously at Omidyar Network she led multiple new investments in companies like NeoGrowth Credit, Indifi, Bon, Kaleidofin, ZineOne, ShopUp, GramCover, Qoala to name a few. Smita is a fintech investor and a thought leader with deep expertise in venture capital, financial inclusion, digital banking and financial regulation. She has been listed amongst the ‘Top 30 Fintech Influencers’ in India as well as amongst the top 100 women VC investors in the world in a recently published book “Women Who Venture”. With over two and half decades of experience, Smita has held leadership positions with noteworthy firms such as Omidyar Network, Fullerton, Reserve Bank of India and ICICI Bank. She is also a start-up coach and mentor with Catalyst Fund and Village Capital. You can connect with Smita here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (02:28) Smita’s background & path leading upto Venture Capital 2. (03:45) Best part of her job as a Venture Capitalist 3. (04:30) About Flourish Ventures; Investing in ‘impact creating startups’; Prioritizing between Product, Team & Market 4. (07:00) Measuring & tracking ‘impact’ post making an investment 5. (09:15) Untapped opportunities in Fintech - Insurtech & Embedded Finance 6. (14:25) What should founders focus on when serving the underserved segments of the market? 7. (21:15) Learnings from investing in multiple markets 8. (25:43) The role of VCs in the evolution of founders 9. (27:52) Rapid fire and closing remarks
32:32
October 18, 2020
EP#14 Brij Bhasin – How Limited Partners can add value to startups & the importance of raising ‘smart’ capital at initial rounds of funding
In this episode, Brij Bhasin, General Partner @Rebright Partners, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading upto venture capital, how LPs can a play a role in collaborating with & supporting startups, how accelerators & micro VCs can help build a strong foundation for early-stage startups & why it is critical for founders to choose the right investor for their startups. Rebright Partners is an early stage Japanese Venture Capital Fund investing across multiple domains in India & SEA. Brij leads the India investments for the firm. Prior to Rebright, Brij was a founding member with GSF (India’s first multi-city accelerator program for early-stage startups). He was also an advisor and part of the early team at Little Eye Labs which was acquired by Facebook in 2014. Brij has built world class technology products for over 12 years as part of several startups in India and US. He is a Computer Science graduate from the University of Minnesota, USA. You can reach out to him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:18) Brij’s background & path leading upto Venture Capital 2. (02:44) Investment thesis & Vision at Rebright Partners 3. (04:08) Rebright’s unique model where Limited Partners (LPs) to co-invest or invest separate capital outside of the fund; How LPs are collaborating with portfolio startups, providing market access and forging strategic partnerships 4. (09:52) Scenarios where VCs can consider investing in pre-revenue startups 5. (11:53) Being an Entrepreneur in Residence at GSF accelerator & supporting startups in their 0 to 1 journey 6. (13:53) Why Brij recommends first time founders to go through an accelerator program & how it helps in building a strong foundation to scale your startup? 7. (18:33) How to differentiate between different types of capital & choosing the right VC for your startup? 8. (24:33) The promise of the maturing startup ecosystem in India 9. (26:08) Rapid fire and closing remarks
31:33
October 11, 2020
EP#13 Ray Newal – Identifying signals that matter to investors & how accelerators add value to the startup ecosystem
In this episode, Ray Newal, Managing Director @Techstars India, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his roller coaster journey as an entrepreneur, his learnings from building a startup in India, the key signals that investors look for when investing in early-stage startups, the value of mentorship for founders & how accelerators maximize value for startups by collaborating with different stakeholders in the ecosystem. Ray Newal is a Canadian entrepreneur and early stage investor, currently serving as the Managing Director of Techstars India, where he leads the Techstars Bangalore Accelerator, with a focus on emerging markets. Before joining Techstars, Ray was a co-founder and CEO of Jigsee Inc., a leading mobile video platform in India which operated mobile applications for many of India's largest brands. Prior to Jigsee, Ray spent over a decade leading sales and business development at DoubleClick, MSN, and Yahoo. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter If you are an early-stage startup looking for funding/mentorship, you can apply to the next Techstars India cohort here until Oct 11th, 2020.  ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. We would really appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This will help others discover the podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:26) Ray’s background & experience of working across corporates, running a startup and now leading an accelerator 2. (05:30) The roller coster journey of a Canadian entrepreneur building in India 3. (13:52) Fundraising challenges; Key ‘signals’ that VCs look for when investing in early-stage founders 4. (20:22) Learnings as an entrepreneur 5. (22:27) How mentors add value to founders?; Joining Techstars and bringing the accelerator to India 6. (25:47) About the Techstars accelerator program 7. (32:07) Maximizing value for startups by collaborating with different stakeholders in the ecosystem 8. (37:47) Rapid fire and closing remarks
41:47
October 04, 2020
EP#12 Jitendra Gupta – Building a strong foundation for your startup, the importance of sharing equity upside with your employees and the pursuit of transforming the banking experience in India
In this episode, Jitendra Gupta, Founder & CEO @Jupiter, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his learnings as a 2-time entrepreneur, the importance of sharing equity upside with your early employees, leveraging investors and how he aims to transform the banking experience in India with his latest venture Jupiter. Jitendra is a well-known fintech entrepreneur and angel investor in India. Currently he is the Founder@Jupiter, India’s first & only co-created banking experience dedicated to millenials. Prior to Jupiter, Jitendra founded Citrus Pay in 2010, which was acquired by PayU - a fintech company that provides payment technology to online merchants - in 2016. He continued to serve as a Managing Director at PayU, spearheading the credit business of the company before quiting in 2019 to start Jupiter. Jitendra is also a prominent angel investor with investments in companies like Khatabook, KarbonCard, YAP, OPEN, Bira 91, Healofy among others. You can reach out to him here on Linkedin / Twitter. ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:20) Jiten’s background & path leading up to becoming an entrepreneur 2. (4:36) Building a strong foundation at an early stage of a startup 3. (9:05) Considering exit scenarios and how to evaluate the decision to sell your startup 4. (12:23) Incentivizing your early employees by sharing equity upside with them; Why is this important for the startup ecosystem? 5. (14:53) Expectations and support from investors at Citrus Pay & his new startup Jupiter 6. (17:00) Angel investing – Why Jiten prefers betting on founders more than the proposed business model of their startups? 7. (19:13) Jiten’s 2nd entrepreneurial stint with Jupiter & how he aims to transform banking in India 8. (24:53) Rapid fire and closing remarks
28:33
September 27, 2020
EP#11 Nitin Sharma – The first principles approach to venture investing & the deep tech opportunity for startups and investors
In this episode, Nitin Sharma, Angel Investor & Founder @First Principles, joins our host Digjay, to share his investment experience with early-to-growth stage companies, his first principles approach to venture investing, why he is bullish on deep tech & his approach to evaluating startups in this space. Nitin has been an experienced VC and advisor to high growth technology ventures in India as well as the US, over the last 14 years. With First Principles, Nitin is currently an active angel investor in 30+ startups in various sectors, including blockchain and other deep tech. He is also the founder of Incrypt Blockchain, a community of blockchain developers in India. Previously, he has been a founding Principal at Lightbox, now a $400mm AUM fund in India and a US venture investor at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a $20bn fund where he co-led NEA's first ed-tech investment. Nitin also serves on the India advisory boards of AngelList, EMVC, TheBetterIndia & USC Viterbi School of Engineering. You can reach out to him here on Linkedin / Twitter.  ----  If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ----  Show notes –  1. (00:59) Nitin’s background & experience with NEA, Lightbox and now as an angel investor  2. (06:40) Applying a first principles approach to early-stage investing  3. (09:10) Thesis & opportunities at First Principles  4. (13:20) Benefits of decentralization & backing businesses that are building from India for the world  5. (15:35) Why should investors be bullish on deep tech technologies like Blockchain, AI & IoT?  6. (18:10) Unpacking blockchain as the internet of value; building a blockchain community  7. (23:05) Separating noise from the signal when investing in deep tech companies  8. (28:20) Angel investing 101; Meeting founder expectations and adding value beyond capital?  9. (32:50) Rapid fire and closing remarks
39:02
September 20, 2020
EP#10 Dr. Anand Anandkumar – The pursuit of solving problems at scale & the fundraising playbook for deep science startups
In this episode, Dr. Anand Anandkumar, Founder & CEO @Bugworks, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his experience of working in different domains across multiple geographies, what led him to become an entrepreneur in his late 40s and his pursuit of solving problems at scale, fund raising challenges for deep science startups & how should founders navigate these challenges. Listed in the top 36 global gamechanging startups to watch out for in 2019 by CB Insights, Bugworks Research is a deep science startup that aims to discover novel treatment options for resistant bacterial infections. The company has won many national/international innovation awards and is the 1st company outside North America and Europe to win the coveted CARB-X grant. Prior to Bugworks, Dr. Anand was the co-founder and CEO of Cellworks, a company specialising in personalized oncotherapy by making use of mathematical modelling frameworks, the co-founding Managing Director of the India operation of SpinCircuit (acq by Cadence, 2003) and Magma Design Automation (acq by Synopsys, 2011). He is also the co-founder of EVA, a life sciences and healthcare accelerator and founding member of TiE Bangalore. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes: 1. (01:16) Dr. Anand’s background in semiconductor and biotech space & path leading up to Bugworks 2. (09:06) Key stakeholders in driving R&D and funding in deep sciences; Factors constraining VCs from allocating more capital in this space 3. (14:20) Lessons from the fund raising experience at Bugworks; Importance of tapping global investors & seeking non-dilutive funding options like government grants 4. (19:06) What do VCs bet on when they invest in healthcare/bio-tech startups? Treating investors as part of your extended team and taking the onus of making them subject matter experts 5. (24:10) Need for more mentors in this space and the role of specialized accelerators/incubators 6. (32:00) Characteristics of a strong founding team 7. (33:55) Rapid fire and closing remarks
36:59
September 13, 2020
EP#9 Melissa Frakman – The Indian fintech opportunity, tapping global markets & adopting a collaborative approach to scale your startup
In today’s episode, Melissa Frakman, Founding Partner @Emphasis Ventures (EMVC), joins our host Digjay, and talks about the Indian fintech ecosystem, the importance of having advisors/investors that have diverse perspectives & access to global networks and why adopting a collaborative approach is a good bet when building for a complex market like India. EMVC is an early-stage VC fund that invests in fintech startups in India and other high-growth markets. Melissa brings 15 years of experience participating in India’s digital revolution and is a sought-after advisor for Indian founders interested in going global. Named on the “Global Fintech PowerList” by Innovate Finance, Melissa has led Asia early stage investments, supported new market strategy, and built partnerships for several Fortune 100 companies. Melissa also serves as a mentor to accelerators like Techstars India and Village Capital. She is based in Washington, DC and Mumbai. You can connect with her on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:35) Melissa’s connect with India’s fintech ecosystem 2. (03:22) Starting Emphasis Ventures (EMVC) with focus on providing global connectivity to early stage startups in India 3. (05:10) Why is it important to have access to a cross-border network and advisors with diverse viewpoints? 4. (08:40) Backing founders with unconventional backgrounds and those who do not have a proven track record; Approach for such founders to stand out and attract attention from top VCs 5. (12:30) What should founders focus on when building a fintech product in India? 6. (15:10) Adopting a collaborative approach to scale up & survive the fintech competition 7. (17:30) Focus areas for early stage founders  8. (19:15) Key strengths and areas of improvement for the Indian startup ecosystem vs it’s peers 9. (22:10) Fintech domains that Melissa is excited about 10. (24:30) Rapid fire and closing remarks
28:53
September 06, 2020
EP#8 Vinay Singh – The business of building brands and investing in new-age consumer companies
In today’s episode, Vinay Singh, Founding Partner @Fireside Ventures, joins our host Digjay, to share his path leading up to Venture Capital, the business of building & investing in consumer brands, the expectations of new age consumers and the corresponding change in narrative with the rise of modern D2C brands or Brands 2.0. Vinay Singh is a Founding Partner at Fireside Ventures, an early-stage consumer-focused venture fund which has invested in brands like boAt, Mama Earth, Vahdam Teas & Bombay Shaving Company to name a few. With 7+ years at Hindustan Unilever as Marketing Manager for a multi-crore brand, extensive expertise in digital marketing at McKinsey & Co., and Bankbazaar.com, Vinay has a unique perspective on the intersection between consumer brands and technology. He has also been an entrepreneur, as the founder and CEO of Stepni.com, which was later acquired by Quikr. You can reach out to him here on Linkedin ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin & Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (1:05) Vinay’s path leading up to being a VC with Fireside Venture 2. (05:02) Fireside Ventures - Focus on consumer brands 3. (09:25) What are the characteristics of Brand 2.0? 4. (13:57) Differentiating your brand among increasing competition; importance of building a brand narrative that resonates with your customers 5. (16:15) Evaluating early-stage consumer brands; Key questions that a brand should be able to answer before fundraising 6. (18:33) How Fireside partners & assists direct-to-consumer brands in it’s portfolio? 7. (23:17) Key elements that should be a part of a consumer brand’s fundraising pitch 8. (27:33) Rapid fire and closing remarks
30:44
August 30, 2020
EP#7 Dhruvil Sanghvi – The art of scaling up, benefits of an accelerator and partnering with the right investors for your startup
In today’s episode, Dhruvil Sanghvi, Founder & CEO @LogiNext, joins our host Digjay, to share LogiNext’s journey of scaling up and becoming a global SaaS company, importance of seeking customer feedback, achieving product-market fit, performing due diligence and picking the right investors at early stages of a startup. LogiNext is amongst the fastest growing global SaaS companies in the delivery & logistics space backed by marquee investors like Tiger Global, Steadview Capital, & Alibaba. Dhruvil, an alum of Carnegie-Mellon university, has been a pioneer in driving transformation & automation in the logistics management space. He is also one of the youngest tech business heads to be named in the coveted Forbes India 30 under 30 and Entreprenuer 35 under 35 lists. Before starting his journey as an entrepreneur, he worked as a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies such as Ernst & Young and Deloitte. He is also an early stage investor and mentor for young entrepreneurs. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin& Twitter ---- Show notes – 1. (01:14) The genesis of the idea behind LogiNext, customer segment and business model 2. (06:00) Going from 0 to 1 – Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), hiring and defining founder responsibilities 3. (07:56) Dhruvil’s definition of Product-Market fit, importance of seeking customer feedback at an early stage, using customer feedback to validate your product idea 4. (12:30) Scaling up from x to 10x – Building repeatable processes, investing in people 5. (14:46) Balancing growth and profitability 6. (18:38) Building a global distribution channel for your product 7. (21:40) Founder-Investor dynamics, benefits of going through an incubator/accelerator at an early-stage 8. (23:06) How to perform due diligence on investors at seed stage? Picking up signals when pitching to investors 9. (26:56) Rapid fire and closing remarks
29:52
August 23, 2020
EP#6 Adith Podhar – The micro-VC perspective, investor biases and decoding the art & science of venture investing
In today’s episode, Adith Podhar, Founding Partner @Gemba Capital, joins our host Digjay, to discuss among other topics, the nuances and challenges of running a micro-VC fund, evaluating founders at early-stage startups, the portfolio creation approach for first time VCs, identifying and avoiding VC investment biases and decoding the art & science of venture investing. Adith is the Founding Partner at Gemba Capital, a micro-VC fund which invests in angel and seed rounds in tech enabled startups that are focused on the India consumption story and cross border SaaS. Some of his portfolio companies include myHQ, ClearDekho, SureClaim, ShopKirana, Upekkha, Kaarva, SleepyCat, and HoiFoods, among others. Prior to starting Gemba Capital, Adith worked at Motilal Oswal PE (MOPE) fund in Mumbai with responsibilities across the investment cycle from deal sourcing - due diligence - negotiation - execution - monitoring - exit. He started his career with ICICI Bank, as a product manager for PE in the International Private Banking division. Adith is also the founder of 'Crepeteria' - a chain of quick-serve restaurants. Crepeteria got seed funded and Adith ran it for 4 years expanding it to 3 cities. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin / Twitter Show notes – 1. (01:10) Adith’s background and how he ended up starting his own micro VC fund 2. (03:20) Thesis and Opportunity at Gemba Capital 3. (08:12) Relationship with large VC funds 4. (09:30) Evaluating founders at early stage startups; The ‘Founder Attribute Score’ methodology 5. (12:00) Defining & achieving Product Market Fit; Growth vs Profitability 6. (16:40) Challenges of running a micro VC fund – Long feedback loop, raising funds from LPs, building your brand/network, competition 7. (18:30) Niche/thematic funds vs Sector agnostic funds 8. (20:45) Portfolio creation for early stage VCs 9. (22:20) VC investing – An art or a science? 10. (23:50) Common investment biases of a venture capitalist & how to avoid them 11. (28:40) Rapid fire questions and closing remarks
32:35
August 16, 2020
EP#5 Sumukh Sridhara – Equity management for startups, the culture & founder mindset at AngelList, and the ‘startup OS’ approach to building products
In today’s episode, Sumukh Sridhara, Founder & CEO @EquityList, joins our host Digjay, to discuss among other topics, AngelList's role at various stages of a startup’s lifecycle, how it is democratizing access to venture investing, the making of EquityList, how EquityList was born out of this startup OS approach to building products and the culture of having a founder mindset at AngelList. Sumukh is the founder of EquityList, an equity management product for Indian companies. Sumukh also heads product & engineering at AngelList India, which as a platform, is the most active early stage investor in India. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin / Twitter Resources – 1. EquityList blogs with explainers on ESOPs, equity management and how to use EquityList for managing your cap table  2. A guide for founders how to use AngelList in India Show notes – 1. Sumukh’s background and how he ended up working at AngelList 2. How AngelList plays a role in the lifecycle of a startup and helps them with fundraising, hiring and product launch? 3. How AngelList is democratizing access to venture investing through its syndicates platform for investors? 4. The scale at AngelList – portfolio of ~5,000 startups globally; how it leverages its massive data set to innovate and build new products for VCs and Startups? 5. Genesis of the idea behind EquityList, an equity management product for Indian companies. What differentiates EquityList from other competitors in the market? 6. The need for a ‘Startup Operating System’ approach to build products that can catalyze the growth of startups 7. Differences & similarities between Silicon Valley & the Indian startup ecosystem 8. Developing the founder mindset at AngelList & straddling between the role of an operator & a founder 9. The ‘Naval effect’ at AngelList 10. Rapid fire and closing remarks
33:50
August 09, 2020
EP#4 Maximilian Rofagha – Why startups are in the business of making bets and the quest to build the world’s largest finance community
In today’s episode, Maximilian Rofagha, Founder & CEO @Finimize, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his learnings and experience as a 2x entrepreneur, why he thinks startups are in the business of making bets, why he started his 2nd startup – Finimize, what does it mean to build a community around your business, and the approach to building products that solve for broad problems like financial literacy. Max is the founder of Finimize, a UK based startup which is building the world’s largest finance community. Finimize which is known for its jargon-free daily newsletter, is building a suite of products to help users make informed financial decisions. Prior to Finimize, Max founded DeinDeal, Switzerland’s second biggest multi-category ecommerce player after Amazon which was later acquired by media conglomerate, Ringier. He also mentors at Techstars and Startup Bootcamp and was named one of Forbes "30 under 30" for Finance in 2016. You can connect with him on Linkedin / Twitter. If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin / Twitter. Show notes – 1. Why Max always wanted to be an entrepreneur? 2. Learning’s from his 1st startup – importance of culture, not getting stuck in frameworks 3. Genesis of the idea behind his 2nd startup, Finimize 4. Approach to solving a broad based problem - running experiments, testing your hypotheses, being selective about user feedback 5. What does it mean to have a community for your product/company? How Finimize built a global community around its business? 6. Importance of decoding ‘distribution’ at an early stage of a startup; different frameworks to figure out the best approach to do that 7. Picking the right investors for your startup 8. Rapid fire and closing remarks
28:56
August 02, 2020
EP#3 Anup Jain – Taking risks, backing misfits & the fundamentals of building a direct-to-consumer brand
In today’s episode, Anup Jain, Managing Partner @Orios Venture Partners, joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to venture capital, importance of taking risks, collaborating with the startup ecosystem, how Orios is #backingmisfits and what are the fundamentals of building a direct-to-consumer brand. At Orios Venture Partners, Anup focuses on investments at the firm in sectors such as Fintech, B2B marketplaces, D2C Brands, Social Commerce, Edtech and Healthtech. He is a member of the Investment Committee and actively involves himself with portfolio companies on business growth, brand management and building teams. He joined Orios in late 2017 after an operating experience of 20 years in managing consumer businesses and building brands across India/ Asia/ Australia. His prior work-ex includes leadership roles at P&G, Whirlpool, Yum Brands and Bata as also a startup stint with indya.com. He’s also been an angel investor in areas of Agri-tech, B2B tech and Digital Media. Anup is an alum of Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) and Delhi College of Engineering. You can connect with him on Linkedin/Twitter. If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes to help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay on Linkedin/Twitter. Show notes – 1. Anup’s path to venture capital – why taking risks is key 2. Backing misfits via Orios’ Accelerator program 3. What are the benefits of an accelerator model for both startups and investors? 4. Thesis and approach for identifying the next set of unicorns 5. What metrics does Orios measure to rate its own performance (apart from returns for its LPs)? 6. How can we collaborate better to help accelerate the growth of the startup ecosystem in India? 7. Fundamentals of building a direct-to-consumer brand 8. Rapid fire and closing remarks
39:12
August 02, 2020
EP#2 Sid Talwar – Learnings as a first time entrepreneur, founder personalities and why Lightbox prefers maintaining a lean portfolio of startups
In today’s episode, Sid Talwar, Founding Partner@Lightbox joins our host Digjay, to share his learnings as a first time entrepreneur, what led him to start Lightbox, why Lightbox prefers to maintain a lean portfolio of startups and how to think/respond in crisis situations.  Sid is a Co-founder and Partner at Lightbox, a venture capital firm based out of India. Lightbox invests in emerging technology companies at an early stage. Prior to Lightbox, Sid founded Evolv, a vocational training company funded by Singapore Technologies. Over six years he built it into a business that trained 20,000+ people annually across 200 cities in South Asia and the Middle East. He sold it to NIIT in 2007 but continued to lead the internal teams in adopting new technology as a transformative force in education and vocational training. An entrepreneur at heart, Sid left NIIT to get more involved in the start-up community in India. Over the next few years, leading up to Lightbox, Sid advised several startups and angel funds before founding Lightbox in 2010. You can reach out to him here on Linkedin / Twitter  If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes and help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin / Twitter  Show notes –  1. Sid talks about his first startup Evolv and his learnings as a first-time entrepreneur  2. Personal and professional costs of entrepreneurship and why it’s not necessary to be a founder to demonstrate success in life?  3. Founder personalities; Realizing the importance of team members and building a culture of retaining talent  4. Why Sid started Lightbox; Thesis and Vision of the fund  5. How Sid allocates time to portfolio companies and why Lightbox prefers to maintain a lean portfolio?  6. How to optimize decision making as a VC, despite long feedback cycles of a VC fund  7. How should founders evaluate which VC/investor will add most value to their company?  8. Responding vs reacting to crisis situations and being thoughtful before making pivots  9. Rapid fire questions and closing remarks
32:47
July 26, 2020
EP#1 Pranav Pai – Founding & Managing a VC fund, measuring key fund metrics and preparing your portfolio companies for a crisis
In today’s episode, Pranav Pai, Founding Partner @3one4 Capital joins our host Digjay, to share about his journey leading into venture capital, how 3one4 Capital differentiates itself from other VC funds, challenges of founding and managing a venture capital fund, the key metrics used at 3one4 Capital to measure it's performance as a VC fund and preparing their portfolio companies for a crisis. Pranav is a Founding Partner at 3one4 Capital - an early-stage venture capital fund based in Bangalore, India. The fund manages a corpus of ~INR 800 Cr (+$110MM) with a portfolio of 50+ early-stage investments across various technology, product, and platform companies in India and US. Pranav has been awarded the “35 under 35” Entrepreneurs of India for 2017 and the “40 under 40” Alternative Investments Professionals of India for 2020. Some of his investments include Licious, Betterplace, Open, Jupiter, ToneTag, DarwinBox, Faircent, Bugworks, Pocket Aces, YourStory, and Tracxn. Pranav is a Stanford Alum, and is the co-president of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs India. You can connect with him here on Linkedin / Twitter If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any of the major podcasting platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunes and help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin / Twitter Show notes – 1. Pranav’s background and path to Venture Capital (VC) 2. How is 3one4 Capital different from traditional VC funds? 3. Attracting the best startups; Startup evaluation process at 3one4 Capital 4. Learnings from his time at Stanford and working in the Bay Area 5. Challenges of launching a Venture Capital fund 6. How does 3one4 Capital assess its own performance as a VC fund? What are the qualitative aspects that they focus on? 7. How to prepare yourself and your portfolio companies for a crisis; Surviving the pandemic 8. Rapid fire questions and closing remarks
35:46
July 26, 2020
The VCpreneur - Trailer Episode
The VCpreneur podcast provides a unique perspective of the startup world, through the lens of Venture Capitalists (VCs) and Entrepreneurs. The podcast features successful VCs and Entrepreneurs discussing the art & science of building products, scaling startups, fundraising and investing in a venture. Listen in to learn from individuals who have been there, done that and made a dent in the venture universe. If you are a current or aspiring entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, or someone who simply wants to enhance their knowledge about the startup ecosystem, this show is for you! We will be releasing our first episode very soon. Until then you can subscribe to this podcast on all popular podcast platforms like Spotify, Apple iTunes and Google Podcasts. Please leave us a review on Apple iTunesand help others discover this podcast. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin/Twitter
02:25
July 11, 2020