This VC Believes an Investor's Role Goes Much Beyond Providing Funds Vinay Singh, partner at Fireside Ventures, says a VC can play a role of a devil's advocate for the betterment of any start-up

By Tahira Noor Khan

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A venture capitalist's (VC) role doesn't end after selecting a start-up they want to invest in. Rather it embarks on a mentoring and governance role. A VC apart from providing capital opens up its network, resources and expertise for a start-up. "An investor's role has evolved over time and governance is a key role that one plays," says Vinay Singh, partner at Fireside Ventures. He adds, "As an investor one has to know when to get out of the entrepreneur's way and when to roll up the sleeves and support the entrepreneur. A VC can play devil's advocate for the betterment of the start-up."

Fireside Ventures is a multi-stage investor in consumer businesses. It invests during pre-series A stage and then follows up at series A stage as well. Fireside is a passion project of Kanwaljit Singh, who left Helion Ventures to invest in consumer brands.

Who makes the cut?

A lot of thought and analysis goes into selecting a start-up before an investor places bet on it. "We are looking for consumer brands which are innovative and are focused on consumer needs—from baby care to audio wearables. Our mission is to build 25 iconic brands from Indian consumer start-ups," says Singh. The fund goes through a rigorous assessment process before making an investment in a company. "We have assessed over 2,000 and evaluated over 400 companies before making the 18 investments. The deal pipeline is across the consumer wallet," says Singh.

Fireside is anchored by a slew of bigwig investors such as Unilever Ventures, Emami, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Family Office, Sunil Munjal's Hero Enterprise Investment Office, ITC, Premji Invest, Westbridge Capital and the Mariwala family office.

Lessons learnt from entrepreneurs

Over the years, Singh has learnt various lessons from his long association with start-ups. Sharing some of them he says, "There are lessons everywhere from a frugal business building, to breakneck acceleration, viral innovation to setting organization culture."

Fireside Ventures closed its first fund with an initial corpus of INR 340 crore last year. The fund is a big believer in innovative consumer goods and new market driven by the millenial's increasing awareness and consumption patterns. The fund was born in 2017 and has invested in the likes of boAt, Mama Earth, Vahdam Teas, Design Café and Yoga Bars.

Tahira Noor Khan

Former Junior Features Writer

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