Investor Focus

5 Reasons Sequoia India Chose Rajan Anandan to Lead Surge

A mechanical engineer by degree, an entrepreneur by passion - Rajan Anandan is a perfect addition to Sequoia India
Entrepreneur Staff
Features Writer
4 min read

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Touted as India’s most sought-after angel investor, Rajan Anandan has quit Google after an eight-year stint as the Vice President for India & South-East Asia. Temporarily filling in his shoes is Vikas Agnihotri, who is the Director of Sales at Google India.  Under Anandan’s leadership, Google has expanded its footprint in the respective regions immensely.

With over 850 million users joining the users in past years, India has emerged as the fastest growing internet market in the world. Wishing Anandan luck for his new adventures, the President of Google Asia Pacific, Scott Beaumont said in a statement, “His entrepreneurial zeal and leadership has helped grow the overall internet ecosystem in India and Southeast Asia.”

Anandan is all set to initiate new innings of his life with India’s leading Venture Capitalist Firm – Sequoia India where he is joining as the investment advisor and mentor for the Surge, an early stage accelerator program that picks 10–20 early stage startups twice a year to invest $1.5 million in each. Over the next 4-5 years, the firm is expected to invest over $100 million in ventures based out of India and Southeast Asia.

Getting Anandan on board to lead Surge is a big win for Sequoia India in more ways than one. Here’s Entrepreneur India exploring five:

Deep Tech Understanding

Having invested in over 80 start-ups so far, Anandan understands and appreciates the ecosystem of start-ups operating in emerging technology very well. His association with CroFarm, Buttercups and MapMyGenome is a testimony to his never-ending thirst to explore varied ventures. While he has invested in non-tech ventures, the future belongs to technology.

His involvement with successful tech enterprises in the past has contributed to his deep understanding of early-stage start-ups, which Sequoia could very well cash in.

Mindfulness

Every experience teaches you something but only those who bring those learnings into practical use are able to win the game. Over 3 decades of his career, Anandan has served the likes of McKinsey, Dell & Microsoft, meanwhile, gaining wisdom on the demographics of what and what doesn’t work for a business. He is mindful in where he invests his money.

His rule of not risking funding ventures he doesn’t understand would help Surge founders scale and build the transformational businesses of tomorrow.

Value for Return

All angel investors pump in their hard earned money into the start-ups with expectations of great returns and Anandan is no different. However, he has acknowledged before that only 1 out of 10 investments plays out. At the end of the day, his mantra is to make companies valuable, make money out of it before going for decent exits.

While Sequoia aims to push the early stage start-ups towards growth, it has had its share of profitable exits. The firm can leverage the Anandan’s eye for startups with potential.

Supportive Mindset

An investor plays a crucial role in mentoring and hand holding the start-ups they have funded. Due to multiple commitments to fulfil, Anandan never had the time to delve in constant monitoring and monthly meeting with the ventures he is associated with; he has always been available on call to help. “When founders who have spent six years of their life want to shut down, my role is not to question them but support them,” he has said earlier.

His philosophy to be helpful than be involved could work well for Sequoia given the firm’s large funding structure spread through multiple sections.

Impressive Track Record

Anandan started angel investing right after he graduated out of MIT by loaning money to friends who were treading the founders’ path. Since the 1990s, he has been a consistent part of the investment game and has become a pro at it. His track record suggests that he makes at least 8-10 strategic investments every year, build positions and make a timely exit.

As a mentor for Surge, his experience of dealing with early-stage start-ups would sure bring in some profits.

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