Dr Ritesh Malik wants to create founder-driven seed initiatives
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In his thirst to promote entrepreneurship, Dr Ritesh Malik has not only provided co-working space to start-ups through his venture Innov8 started in 2012, he has also invested in 45+ startups so far since 2013. Talking about his aim as an investor, he clearly states, “Create India’s most founder-friendly founder-driven seed initiative to back founders irrespective of the outcomes, usually investors hang in companies between 4 to 5 years in their investment cycles. As this is my personal capital, I don’t have pressure from LP’s top return; the capital is giving me the edge of taking wild risks and consistently backing founders.”
Being a founder himself, he understands the loneliness of the journey. In his words, “I have committed many mistakes as a founder, I spend a lot of time with founders I back to make sure those mistakes aren’t repeated also, I learn so much from these visionary founders.” His investments include the likes of Josh Talks, Sheroes, Drivezy, and Tapchief. With a vision of promoting entrepreneurship in India, he started his own angel funding venture in 2015 called ‘Project Guerrilla’, which brings a premiere India based accelerator and incubation centre to the country.
Most of the start-ups he has been a part of have raised follow-on rounds. His investee company QDesk got acquired by JLL. Sharing one of his major misses, Malik says, “The biggest one was Unacademy, this is the challenge when you don’t have a fund. I am a poor founder who invests whatever he earns back into the ecosystem. When Gaurav and Roman came for raising funds, I had an option of either investing into Unacademy or investing more into Innov8, I chose the latter, which paid as well, but I regret not being a part of Unacademy. Gaurav and Roman in the course of time have become great friends.
(This article was first published in the November 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)