Intuition, Not Impulse Is What Drives This Investor While Investing in Start-ups
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Ashish Fafadia is a Partner at early-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures. Fafadia manages Blume’s growth stage portfolio companies, as well as those headed for exits. In addition, he supports fundraising activities for the VC firms’ portfolio companies as well as the fund. Blume Ventures has so far backed more than 130 start-ups and made 22 exits.
Turning Misses into Stories of Triumph
According to Fafadia, among Blume Ventures’ many triumphs, the biggest was “setting up a micro VC fund with a fully Indian source of capital way back in 2011 when almost all the capital that was being invested in the Indian Venture Capital industry was dollar denominated”. The dollar domination has, however, continued.
At a time when unicorn status in the start-up world is becoming increasingly similar to the so-called “100-crore club” in Bollywood movies , Fafadia points out that one of the misses that pinches them, as a VC firm, is that they “definitely could have given at least one unicorn status company by now” to the Indian ecosystem.
But they are now on track, says Fafadia. “We have missed a couple of good opportunities for sure but now we are certainly on track to produce unicorns. I believe that by 2021, we will have at least 2 unicorns (possibly 3) from the portfolio and maybe that would be a good moment for me to call it a triumph”.
Some of Blume Ventures’ most valuable investments include robotics start-up Grey Orange, edtech platform Unacademy and delivery service provider Dunzo.
Investment by Choice
According to Fafadia, all investment activities done by Blume Ventures are intuition-driven. “So far our investments are driven consciously and we have a certain purpose behind making the investment, it's only fair to say that we made these investments by choice,” he says, adding, “Purely from that angle when I introspect and look back at all the investments, it's hard for me to point out an investment in the portfolio that was made impulsively or forced due to fear of missing out from the market.”
Breaking into an Endless Investment Journey
In the last nine years, the VC firm has come far. However, the journey is far from complete, Fafadia explains. “While we have learned a fair bit from a base of 100+ companies, we believe there is a lot more to come.”
Fafadia says being an investor is all about “being agile, open, continuously learning and ultimately making the best decisions.” He believes discussions with entrepreneurs over coffee and drinks have given him equally valuable lessons as those that took place in the boardroom. As a VC firm, Blume Ventures is not obsessed with gaining control or imposing their expertise on entrepreneurs. The firm seeks to improve and get better.
Fafadia provides testimony for this. “At least once or twice a year we get in a huddle with some of our founders who feel strongly about us and get them to share their thoughts and feedback”.