Why This Investor Made a Big Bet on These Three Start-ups
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Stellaris Venture Partners is among the new venture funds that emerged out of the split between the leadership at Helion Venture Partners. Rahul Chowdhri backed companies like Simplilearn, BigBasket and ShopClues at Helion for close to nine years before co-founding Stellaris last year. He is among the fund managers who earnestly wishes that entrepreneurs know about what they are doing in-and-out. “If they don’t understand my questions around the idea on which they have been working every day then there is a problem.” Chowdhri shares what clicked with him for three of the Stellaris’s portfolio companies.
Highlight: 24X7 Doctor Consultation
MFine offers on-demand online doctor consultation and long-term care through the app. What struck Chowdhri was the problem of reaching out to the right doctor any time during the day or night particularly beyond metro or tier I cities. “That’s the pain point I saw. Technology can partially solve some of the healthcare problem apart from the fact that everybody is comfortable on smartphone today,” he says. On the other hand, team was never the problem, in fact Chowdhri couldn’t have asked for a better one. Former Myntra Co-founder Ashutosh Lawania and Former head of Myntra’s e-commerce platform Prasad Kompalli knew how technology start-up scale and where things would go wrong. “Having built a technology company, gives them an edge. We found them better than other similar players.”
Highlight: Real Time Collaboration
Another one from Myntra’s top executives Vishal Gahlaut, Vishesh Dahinwal and Sarath Chandran, Noticeboard is a platform for companies to collaborate and communicate with their frontline staff, moving away from WhatsApp or paper-based communication. “There are 300 million blue collar workers in India. So market size is not a problem,” says Chowdhri. He witnessed collaboration platform space moving from desktop to smartphone era since his Helion days but ground level employees never had an email address. “Communications can now be more structured. But it is unusual because the platform is not easy to adopt. Also, the return on investment is not very clear.” Chowdhri is now testing the readiness of the market for such a solution.
Highlight: Accelerate User Performance
Stellaris Co-founder and former partner at Helion, Alok Goyal led the seed round of Whatfix – a software-asa-service start-up that offers in-app guidance and performance support for web applications and software products. This means, that you don’t have to leave the application when you click on the help option for solution. For instance, if you cannot download a report and if you click on the link available to help you download it, a new screen comes up to take you through the step-by-step process to download the report. So it takes control of the main application. “Why that has to be separate and not integrated into the app itself. Whatfix’s solution can be deployed into any ERP or web-based ERP app.” This means there are in-app guides to solve problems.
(This article was first published in the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)