Giving it Back to the Startup Ecosystem: When Entrepreneurs Turn Investors
Young and aspiring entrepreneurs have always felt the need for veteran entrepreneurs and business owners to take the prestigious ‘investor hotseat’ rather than bankers and accountants donning that role. Veteran entrepreneurs, who have walked the chaotic entrepreneurial path, generally tend to better empathize with younger entrepreneurs who are now at the nascent stages of their journey.
After creating a multi-billion dollar company, Vishwas Mudagal and Co-Founder and MD Sonia Sharma of GoodWorkLabs have now turned angel investors in 2017. The duo started an outsourced product design firm in 2013.
An opportunity with a purpose
Speaking to Entrepreneur, the duo spoke about how their personal hurdles and the market potential motivated them to turn investors for the ecosystem.
“When we floated this co-working space, we wanted to give it back to the ecosystem by mentoring and funding these startups. Vishwas and I would mentor these startups as we rightly know how to solve real world problems as founders and likewise we want to solve companies that aspire to solve real world problems,” Sonia said.
“As we continue to grow as a company, we wanted to do a little more than what we were doing at the moment. We also thought that investing in different startups will help us engage with different genres and explore exciting sectors,” Vishwas added.
The sectors Vishwas and Sonia are looking to explore include IoT, healthcare, fintech and are also keen on looking at startups outside India. They surprisingly, are also very keen on investing in “organic farming” as well.
“We are driven a lot with our heart as much as our brain,” Vishwas added
The advantage entrepreneurs have over regular VCs
Both young and old ecosystem players like Girish Mathrubootham, Bansals, Nandan Nilekani, Ratan Tata and others have plunged into the business of angel funding over the recent years. However, industry experts believe that there should be more veteran entrepreneurs taking up important roles at VC firms. A recent example of this is Kunal Shah joining Sequoia Capital at an advisor.
Talking about the advantage they have as investors over traditional VCs, Vishwas accepted that entrepreneurs are a lot more comfortable with them, as both he and Sonia have walked similar paths. “We have more empathy towards them,” he adds.
The duo believes that the co-working space would also help them explore the ecosystem and look at opportunities. Vishwas said that it’s easier for him from the wealth management perspective to invest in a plush property, but here they are looking a profitable exit from an angel investor perspective.
Today Vishwas and Sonia plan to invest in three startups anywhere within the bandwidth of $50,000 and $200,000 and also launched GoodWorks Co-works- and in-house co-working incubation studio.
She used to write for Entrepreneur India from Bangalore and other cities in South India.