This Investor Explains Why 'Selling' is the Fundamental Criterion to Judge Entrepreneurs
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Former technology veteran at global professional services firm Genpact, Prasad Vanga’s core learning has been in scaling up large businesses. So that comes naturally to him. He, however, switched that into providing market support and capital for start-ups to help them scale via his early stage fund – Anthill Ventures, launched three years back.
According to him, ‘selling’ is the fundamental criterion to judge entrepreneurs. “We look at start-up’s target customers and customer feedbacks. Then we connect the entrepreneurs with the customer they want to on-board and measure their skill in selling their product,” says Vanga. His current portfolio count is 22 which has increased to around 3X since 2015. From 10-12 companies per year, Vanga is bullish to back 36 companies per year from June 2018 onwards. He picks the next three breakout stars from his portfolio and reasons why he backed them.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) For Auto Insurance Companies
Roadzen helps auto insurers with quick claims processing and intelligence-backed risk underwriting apart from real time customer interaction using AI and data-driven decisions. “They have scaled up very rapidly to become a $100 million valuation company. It is one of the under-the-radar companies, yet the biggest in auto insuretech space,” says Vanga. Started in 2015, the start-up has now expanded to China. Roadzen’s founder Rohan Malhotra instead of selling his roadside assistance solution to customers, which is an expensive and slow path to scalability, went to insurance companies to reach out to their customers. The start-up last year acquired insurance company AXA Assistance. “By these acquisitions, it is filling the gaps in the market to become a full provider of insurance technology.”
Business Process Automation Using Human And AI
Companies focusing on business process automation use AI to automate the operations but doesn’t cater to the part where human intervention is needed. SquadRun, as Vanga suggests, is the way businesses should perform their operational tasks. “It automates 80 per cent of the work process via robotics and rest 20 per cent task that needs human judgment is sent to people across the world who earn money on completion of task,” says Vanga. The start-up hence, leverages the on-demand workforce globally to crowdsource task completion. It has talent pool across India, Philippines, Uganda, Europe etc., and recently expanded to the US. Tasks can be as simple as image correction and uploading on the cloud for companies. It raised $2.1 million from multiple investors including Anthill Ventures.
Digital Spare Parts Marketplace
There is a big grey area where automotive spare parts market exists which has a significant presence in the overall market. “Spares aftermarket is a very interesting space where you go to a garage but don’t know what the mechanic is putting in your car. Spareshub has built a database for parts with multiple options for customers to purchase,” says Vanga. He explains, for buying a BMW part, there are four options - first, a part from BMW; second, a BMW certified part; third, an alternate part made by an Indian company; and fourth, the part built in China. “It has the potential to disrupt the hard-to-scale traditional supply chain industry which is controlled by unorganized market. They are now working on blockchain technology to allow you to see part authenticity from the beginning.” Spareshub as a differentiator to other similar portals doesn’t sell directly to consumers.
(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)