A few Indian funds choose to behave territorially when it comes to funding in India. But it takes some incredible amount of research and calibration to go all out and fund across sectors in India.
One of them includes Ventureast, a pioneering Indian VC fund manager with close to $300 million under management. We have a rich history of investing in innovative businesses across multiple sectors, and multiple stages of a business - from seed and early to growth stages.
Entrepreneur spoke to Siddhartha Das, a General Partner, and has been with Ventureast since January 2006.
Talking about funding decisions, Siddhartha said that the long history of the fund helps portfolio entrepreneurs themselves become a source of lead generation for the firm, apart from their own networks.
The most important thing is the pedigree and the experience of the entrepreneur. In many of the existing markets the entrepreneur experience is important. However, some of the new-age markets are going to be discovered by the new-age entrepreneurs who might not have a lot of experience but will have the required technology insights and the ability to take certain kind of risks in those markets,” he adds.
Siddhartha further added that different kind of funding deals have different criterias. For example for a consumer oriented deal, the fund might not look for entry barriers for intellectual property because that’s not how the business model works. For an enterprise market on the other hand, the IP and entry barriers become far more important because at the end of the day you need to develop a product that can sustain for a long time.
Funding a mix-bag of categories
Talking about nurturing a portfolio company post funding, Siddhartha said that over the last few years, it has become easier to build a unicorn than a consumer-oriented business, it’s much more difficult in the enterprise markets.
“Today a lot of companies that have reached the billion dollar benchmark have also raised huge amount of funding. Though it’s always an aspiration for a VC fund that one of them makes them to the unicorn category, we are also aware of the number of challenges along in terms of execution speed. ... We are not a very consumer oriented fund in terms of huge emphasis. We tend to be a little more balanced and might focus on categories like enterprise SaaS, digital brands, finance technology, analytics engine – basically a broad mix,” he adds.
Entrepreneurship has become a preferred career option
The fund primarily focuses on seed and Series A stage, and makes follow on investments of Series B of existing companies.
Talking about new funding trends like corporate funding Siddhartha said that entrepreneurs today have a lot many options. “However, demand and supply tend to match-up in every ecosystem. While 10-15 years back supply of capital was less and so were the number of entrepreneurs,” he adds. He also added that that the broad range of capital has also encouraged a large base of entrepreneurs. Today the first career choice of an IIT/IIM graduate is to become an entrepreneur, he said.
With over 19 years' experience in IT and in venture investment into IT, Siddhartha oversees technology investments of the Proactive Fund. Deep on technology, Siddhartha is a former researcher with the R&D and product development teams at Intel Corporation.