My Investment Thesis – Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur: Padmaja Ruparel

Ruparel started Indian Angel Network in 2009 with her fellow investors to invest in entrepreneurs with great ideas

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Padmaja Ruparel, co-founder, IAN started off as an entrepreneur in Kolkata, before moving to Delhi leaving behind her family business that had grown dramatically from 50,000 sq ft to 2.5 lakh sq ft of space. 

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In Delhi, she started working in the IT industry. Working here gave her the flexibility to experiment and learn about different aspects of the business. She also learned how a company starts, how it lists, delists, how companies get acquired, the exit, and communications beyond corporate strategy. 

Padmaja met her mentor Saurabh Shrivastava who brought TiE to India. With him, Padmaja set up India’s first TiE Chapter in Delhi. It was at TiE that Ruparel learned about the challenges that entrepreneurs generally go through, and how they take care of the challenges. 

The big switch in Padmaja’s life happened when she decided to back a few startups ideas as an angel investor. She spoke to a few of the Angel groups that operated globally to understand the entire ecosystem and later formed their institution. That’s how IAN was co-founded in 2009 with Ruparel and her fellow investors. 

When asked about her investment thesis, she says, “My investment thesis – Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur. More than the company, I believe in investing in the entrepreneurs  – those who are not solely driven by their valuation. An entrepreneur’s passion forms 70 per cent of my investment thesis. I am not willing to bet on a weak entrepreneur.”

She believes that 2021 has been a year that has seen an increase in quality investment opportunities both in India and overseas. “2021 has clearly seen an increase in funding in tech-centric plays, deeptech, space tech, agritech, B2B SaaS plays which can scale quickly across geographies and new markets in growing tier II and III cities,” she added. 

IAN, in addition to money, provides constant access to high-quality mentoring, access to a vast global network, inputs on strategy as well as execution, help in building teams, and more. “We believe facilitating deep mentioning and strategy sessions with the companies empowers the entrepreneurs to generate immense value,” she said.