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In this episode, Madhu Shalini Iyer (Partner, Rocketship VC), joins our host Digjay, to talk about her path leading up to Rocketship VC, genesis of Rocketship VC and its unique data-led approach to investing in startups, incorporating qualitative inputs from past deals to refine data algorithms, combining data with the human element to make the final investment decision, outlier founders from Rocketship’s portfolio, cross-geography learnings for founders given Rocketship’s global portfolio, how Madhu’s global experience has shaped her personality and more. Rocketship VC is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that uses machine learning and data science to identify & invest in startups around the world. The firm recently closed their 3rd fund at $125mm & has invested in 14 different countries in marquee startups like Khatabook, BukuWarung, Splitwise, Moglix, Apna, Sary, Yulu and more. Prior to Rocketship, Madhu was the Chief Data Officer at Gojek. She started the Singapore office and helped grow the business into a $1 billion unicorn. Prior to Gojek, Madhu was an operating partner at a $150 million private equity fund building startups across South East Asia. She was part of the founding team of Intuit’s Quickbooks Lending Platform where she helped grow the platform to $300 million and holds 3 patents in the areas of user data augmented algorithms for financial inclusion. You can connect with Madhu here on Linkedin ---- Show notes – (01:54) Madhu’s background & path leading up to Rocketship (06:54) Genesis of Rocketship VC (10:54) Unique data-led approach to investing in startups (14:59) Incorporating qualitative inputs from past deals to refine the data algorithms  (18:11) Combining data with the human element to make the final investment decision (24:19) Key deal breakers despite data checking all the boxes (30:00) Reverse pitch to founders to win outbound deals (32:41) Identifying investment trends before they become mainstream (35:29) Outlier founders from Rocketship’s portfolio (38:24) Cross-geography learnings for founders given Rocketship’s global portfolio (43:14) How has Madhu’s global experience shaped her personality? (49:29) 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
In this episode, Jatin Desai (Managing Partner, Inflexor Ventures), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to Inflexor Ventures, the thesis and evolution of the fund, Jatin’s approach to evaluating & investing in deep tech startups, commercialization of deep tech startups, importance of having exit strategies as an investor, outlier founders from Inflexor’s portfolio, Jatin’s learning curve as a VC, deeptech themes that Inflexor is excited about, how being a venture capitalist has influenced Jatin’s personality over the years and more. Inflexor Ventures is an early stage venture capital fund that invests in startups leveraging deeptech & technology IP in areas like AI-ML, AR-VR, Big Data, Robotics, Cybersecurity, Blockchain and SpaceTech. The venture recently closed their new fund at $80mm & has invested in startups like Bellatrix Aerospace, PlayShifu, Atomberg, CloudSek, Kale Logistics among others. Prior to become a venture investor, Jatin was the CIO of Bank of America & DSP Merrill Lynch in India. Before joining the bank, Jatin spent several years in US, EMEA & India in various technology roles dealing with Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 companies. You can connect with him here on Linkedin. ---- Show notes – (01:47) Jatin’s background & his path leading up to Inflexor Ventures (04:09) The thesis and evolution of the fund (07:35) Jatin’s approach to evaluating & investing in deep tech startups (12:46) Overcoming valleys of death & commercialization of deep tech startups (24:02) Importance of having exit strategies as an investor (28:05) Outlier founders from Inflexor’s portfolio (30:17) Jatin’s learning curve as a VC (32:40) Deeptech themes/sectors that Inflexor is excited about (35:37) How has being a VC influenced Jatin’s personality over the years? (36:22) 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
In this episode, Smita Deorah (Co-Founder & Co-CEO, LEAD), joins our host Digjay, to talk about her path leading up to LEAD, the genesis phase and what led Smita to make LEAD her life’s work, how LEAD plans to radically improve the state of education in India by transforming schools, the growth playbook & key challenges faced when building a scalable B2B product/service, what should founders focus on when hiring the core team for a mission driven startup like LEAD, Smita’s fundraising experience, LEAD’s criteria to select their investors & value-add from each of them, how being an entrepreneur has influenced Smita’s personality over the years and more. Smita & Sumeet, founded LEAD in 2012 with a vision to make global-standard education accessible and affordable to students, especially in non-metro cities. LEAD integrates a world-class curriculum with technology that powers all stakeholders in a school environment. Today LEAD caters to 5000+ schools in 500+ cities across India. This school edtech unicorn startup, was bootstrapped through 2017 & has subsequently raised >$100mm in funding from marquee investors like Elevar Equity, Westbridge Capital & GSV Ventures. Prior to LEAD, Smita founded Sparsh, a non-profit that implemented a pre-school in a box solution in 16 pre-schools around Mumbai. Prior to that, Smita spent 9 years in Procter & Gamble Singapore and India as a leader in Finance, Treasury and Strategy. You can connect with her here on Linkedin or Twitter. ---- Show notes – (01:45) Smita’s background & her path leading up to LEAD (07:15) What led Smita to start LEAD & make this her life’s work (10:30) The current state of India’s primary education system & how LEAD plans to radically improve the status quo (17:55) LEAD’s first principles approach of building a scalable B2B product; focus on the target audience, product design and measurable outcomes (23:25) The growth playbook; Key challenges faced when scaling up LEAD (34:58) What should one over index on when hiring the core team for a mission driven startup like LEAD? (39:15) Fundraising experience; LEAD’s criteria to select their investors (42:12) Value add from each institutional investor on the cap table - Elevar Equity, West Bridge Capital & GSV Ventures (47:15) How has being an entrepreneur influenced Smita’s personality over the years? (54:00) 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
In this episode, Ben Mathias (Managing Partner, Vertex Ventures), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to Vertex Ventures, history & thesis at Vertex, key defining moments in evolution of India’s startup ecosystem, why it is important for startups to focus on building capital efficient businesses, advice for first time VCs, nuances of investing in growth stage startups, adding value to founders beyond Series A rounds, outlier founders from the Vertex SEA portfolio & what differentiates them from the rest, how being a VC has influenced Ben’s personality over the years and more. Vertex Ventures is a global network of operator-investors who manage portfolios in the US, China, Israel, Southeast Asia & India. Vertex SEA & India has invested in more than 60 startups including 5 unicorns in their portfolio. Some of their marquee investments include startups like Grab, NIUM, FirstCry, Recko, CloudCherry, Active AI, Licious, and Kapiva among others. Prior to Vertex, Ben was a partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA) where he launched their India presence. While at NEA, he led several investments in the Technology and Healthcare sectors. Prior to joining NEA, Ben had a successful software career in Silicon Valley where he held senior positions at E2open and i2 Technologies (acquired by JDA Software). You can connect with him here on Linkedin or Twitter. ---- Show notes – (01:42) Ben’s background & path leading up to Vertex (04:36) About Vertex Ventures - thesis & history of the fund (11:02) Key moments in India’s evolution as a startup ecosystem (15:02) The current macro backdrop; Why is it important for startups to focus on building capital efficient businesses? (18:44) Advice for first time VCs (21:38) Nuances of investing in growth stage startups (24:41) What does ‘value add’ mean for founders at and beyond Series A funding? (29:27) Outlier founders from the Vertex portfolio; What differentiates these founders from the rest? (32:42) Internalizing that venture capital is a long game; Challenges faced as a VC (37:14) How being a VC has influenced Ben’s personality over the years? (38:17) 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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