The Guardian Angel

Utsav Somani, partner at Angel List India, has done 90-plus investments so far

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A friend in need is a friend indeed. More than an investor, Utsav Somani is a friend to the startup ecosystem. He has helped startups scale new heights when the rest of the world doubted. 

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“It has been my honour to experience the story of CoinDCX closely as a seed round investor and more importantly as a friend. In April 2018, RBI had just come out with a circular banning all fiat on/off-ramp activity for crypto entities and that meant locking out a majority of the Indian population from this new technological marvel. This was the time when the startup was preparing for a launch. Just before the circular was rolled out, I met Sumit Gupta, founder and CEO CoinDCX, on a Sunday and we spoke over a call. The next day, I decided to lead their pre-seed round and invited many of my close investor friends. Almost all of them wanted to participate knowing that I was early into crypto and wanted to follow me here. Next week, post the RBI announcement, almost all of them backed out. Six people who stayed on are now handsomely rewarded by the tremendous execution demonstrated by Sumit and team,” said Somani, partner at AngelList India.  

Talking about his investment journey, Somani added, “It’s been something. I started investing into startups in 2015 and went fairly slow to learn the tricks of the trade. I used to write and connect with people over email, Twitter and through my blog posts. That helped me build early connections in the ecosystem, many of whom are still close friends and co-investors. But things got way more interesting when I launched AngelList in India in 2018. I raised my second funding of $21million, iSeed II.” 

“I have done 90-plus investments,” Somani said, adding that supporting amazing founders and deep conviction are some of the priorities of his investment thesis. 

Talking about his investment thesis for 2022, he said, “There is liquidity matched with quality talent and exciting new areas like Web3 coming up. I think things are looking very upbeat.”

Factsheet:

  • Portfolio size - 95 companies, 3 unicorns - BharatPe, CoinDCX and 1 unannounced     

  • Average ticket size/sweet spot - $500.000 

  •  Total no. of exits - 4

  • Total assets under management - Was investing personal capital and leading syndicates before becoming a micro-fund manager. Fund I was $5 million, Fund II is $21 million