Here's Why This Investor Made These Big Investments
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Anand dabbled with multifarious roles before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey. He launched his animation and gaming company Ettamina Studios in 2006, only to shut it down after three years. “When I look back it feels that the world was preparing me to become a VC and understand every aspect of building a business,” recalls Anand. He finally turned to investments with Singapore-based Jungle Ventures in 2010 where he is more of a mentor than a VC because according to him: “Those who fail become mentors and those who succeed become investors.” But he doesn’t want entrepreneurs to fail due to the lack of mentoring at least. Anand shuffles through his Southeast Asia focused fund’s portfolio to showcase three of its star companies.
Home Design and Decor e-Marketplace
Launched in 2015 by Anuj Srivastav, former global head of product marketing at Google and Ramakant Sharma, Vice President of engineering at Myntra, Livspace essentially rethinks the home interior design online ecosystem. The start-up solves problems around overrunning cost and time, unaccountable and unskilled labour. “Livspace is the first platform that lets consumers design and furnish their home online,” Anand says. It connects home-owners, designers, and vendors; and has built a digital, customized storefront with pre-loaded home layouts. It has over 1,000 designers on-board with deep back-end vendor integration. “We saw the opportunity to rethink the entire interior design industry value chain using technology and a passion for creating a new consumer experience,” he adds. Livspace has raised around $27.6 million since August 2015 from Bessemer Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners, and others.
Co-founders of PaySense, Prashanth Ranganthan and Sayali Karanjkar, saw the lack of convenient access to formal credit channels in the Indian market as their opportunity. And it paid rich dividends. “PaySense wants to provide greater flexibility to its customers via customized products,” says Anand, who decided to back PaySense after meeting 40 other start-ups. It offers loans ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 2 lakh on the same day of registration with its app. It is among a gush of consumer lending start-ups that solves the problem of short-term and small value personal lending for the middle-class consumers. “The market is huge and riddled with regulatory-to-consumer trust issues. We eventually partnered with PaySense due to its in-depth understanding of building a business in the credit space,” he reasons. PaySense recently raised an $18 million follow-on funding round led by Naspers’ backed PayU and further participation by Jungle Ventures.
Short-term Trade Financing
NN Iyer started Vayana Network with a purpose – to make trade financing as easy as swiping a credit card for businesses. Around 30-70 percent of GDP in most emerging markets in Asia is contributed by small and midsize businesses. Thus, for such markets easy access to credit is imperative. “Vayana solves that problem by reshaping the short-term trade financing market to provide digital, fast, and mutually beneficial solutions,” says Anand. Its cloud-based network enables businesses to get financing from banks and non-banking financial companies at better than market rates. The start-up recently crossed $1 billion mark in facilitating financing. “We believe that Vayana will continue to remain a market leader. It has sucessfully productized the ease of use and efficient onboarding. This will result in near exponential scaling almost automatically,” maintains Anand. The start-up raised $4 million in July last year from Jungle Ventures and IDG Ventures India.