Fancy Google's Rajan Anandan's Attention? These Five Segments Are Likely To Excite Him
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Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Google India started his investment journey way back in the 90s during his professional stint in the US. After moving back to India in the mid-2000s, he started investing in local companies via Indian Angel Network (IAN).
In early 2010, after exiting from Microsoft India, Anandan sensed the ongoing investment opportunities for angel investors and hence, developed an open architecture ecosystem i.e. he started co-investing with companies like Prime Venture Partners and Asante Capital.
During LetsVenture’s Angel Investor Meet in Mumbai, he claimed to have developed a strategy that works well for him. Discussing his strategy, he said, “I invest in 8-9 companies per year. I do not do investment by myself because I have no time. I always co-invest with investors who have time.” This year, Anandan has done about 10 investments, of which 5-6 are from Lets Venture.
Rumoured to have invested in more than 80 companies, the senior executive prefers investing in companies that he thinks ‘might make some money.’
“I only do tech and occasionally, I invest in non-tech Company because I am looking to learn about new spaces,” he added. He also avoids investing in sectors he doesn’t understand simply because he doesn’t know what questions to ask. Following are the few segments that excite him:
Anandan is a big fan of B2B companies as they are more focused and solve real problems. Moreover, of all the exits he has had, the best returns are through B2B companies. Giving example of such a B2B venture, the investor mentions his investment in a textile-related tech company called Threadsol Softwares, which provides solutions to textile processing units.
Explaining the rationale behind his investment, the Google India Head says, textile manufacturing is a trillion dollar industry and it does not have a lot of technology.”
Online-based offline business
With consumer internet, Anandan is looking at companies that are internet-enabled offline businesses such as CroFarm, an Agri-tech start-up which he invested in early 2017.
CroFarm is an online-offline marketplace that focuses on the farm to the retailer model and has distribution centres in cities like Delhi. With its logistics solution and technology, the platform claims to reduce the post-harvest losses by 30%.
The Google India head is extremely excited his portfolio company Zunum Aero, a Seattle-based start-up which is busy building the world’s first hybrid aircraft.
The company is backed by Boeing’s HorizonX fund and Jet Blue’s Technology Ventures. By 2020, Zulu will ship the world’s first hybrid aeroplane. The aircraft expected to cost close to $ 2 Million will have the capacity to travel short distances with about 12 passengers.
“To me, this investment is about learning and it’s really cool. If this works, it will be huge,” he shared.
Anandan prefers investing in social startups because it is good for India.
"I am not expecting the return on capital or outsized returns because I think these are generally good things to do,” he added.
Lastly, he was one the few early investors in content platforms. The angel investor has invested in companies Miss Malini, PopXo and LBB. But with time, he has slowed down because the segment takes a lot of time to monetize.
“There is no point in investing in twenty of these because the first five will take time to monetize. So, what I try to do is this – get in early, build positions, invest in some of the early companies and then make decent exits,” he shared.