Let's talk about the startups with worked for you the start ups where you got a multiple exit and which are doing really well now. So what differentiates those companies? I basically follow four simple tenets as far as investment in startups is concerned. They're very simple. It's the profile of the founder, the uniqueness of the business model, scope for monetization and scope for exit. When I look at each of these parameters, they kind of symbolize the key ingredients in making a start up successful. When I look at the uniqueness of the business model in a world, which is full of copy/paste where every second startup is an Uber for something or a Airbnb for something it requires a lot of courage and a lot of thinking to come up with something which has never been thought before and if you're able to do that and you're able to do it successfully there is no way that you would not be able to achieve a lot of success. So that's point number one. While profile becomes important and I'm not a big fan of IIT IIM, since I'm not one myself, profile is basically oriented towards the background of what the entrepreneur was doing before he decided to run the startup a bit of experience in the industry say 5 to 7 years is what I consider as ideal, because it allows you to be exposed to the corporate world because you're going to be engaging and hiring people who are part of that industry at some point of time. So it's important for you to have been an employee before you become an employee owner and you kind of have the understanding in terms of nitty-gritty of running a company from an employee perspective rather than being fresh out of college not everyone can be as lucky as a Ritesh Agarwal or a Mark Zuckerberg. So it's always important that you have some amount of work experience under your belt. And then of course the kind of work which you did in these five to seven years, if there is a relevancy to the kind of start up which you're going for, it obviously becomes a plus point, but that's not again a mandate. But yeah some amount of experience definitely helps. Scope for monetization becomes important because at times when everyone is gangu about being able to capture downloads and increase the number of downloads and increasing number of eyeballs for a venture especially
B2C, people tend to deprioritize the importance of making money. Coming from a conservative country like India it is very important to have a laser focus as far as monetization is concerned so that sooner you are self-dependent, the sooner are
you not waiting for an outside infusion of funds, the better it is for you because that ensures that the chances of the business going down at any point of time is minimized. Scope for exit is a bit of a selfish initiative while we definitely would want the startup to go all the way to IPO and we'll be holding stocks in our public limited company, it's definitely a long and arduous journey which not all startups may be able to achieve, so it becomes important that have they shortlisted a few potential suitors who might want to buy them out either in terms of early stage investment or in terms of final bout as long as they have that clear path, it becomes a bit more reassuring from the investment angle perspective. So tell us about the start ups which didn't work out or are not growing well. Well, I think fundamentally any startup which has a continued focus towards looking at growth path with all the underlying conditions in place and being ready for facing challenges and being able to find solutions and move on that kind of defines the fundamental tenets, which is needed for an entrepreneur, everyone has a goal in mind but when the ecosystem and the conditions around you become a challenge that goal starts wavering and people tend to lose patience or they lose focus. I think that is the main reason where I've seen a few startups not being able to do as well as they wanted to. Second is to have a time bound milestone and objective place where you know for next 18, 24, 36 months what you're going to be doing and to be able to reassess your goals based on the achievements and to take corrective measures sooner rather than later that's again an area where few of the startups are not succeeded while the competition is not going to jump on you, I think the mental challenges which come in entrepreneurship where you're not drawing a salary or you're drawing a very low salary your family pressure comes in. All of these become prominent when you're not doing well. At that point of time, if you're not laser-focused, if you're not able to reorient yourself, it can be a challenge for continuity perspective. So I think those become a very important element in being a successful startup. Are you also focused on certain segments of market which you focus on for 2019, 2020? While in general I harp on the slogan of sector agnostic because I would not want to get restricted from a particular sector perspective, but I definitely see a lot of scope in Fintech, EdTech has been around for a long time but I've seen the monetization journey for EdTech has not been as robust as some of the other segments have been, but I do see a chance for EdTech to emerge prominent in the next 2-3 years. The food tech industry, which has been talked about a lot will go through lot of churn in couple of years because the number of players there is not enough room for all of them to be able to stay profitable at the level of growth they are achieving and I think fundamental tech which includes IoT, IML, Robotics and RP based businesses they definitely have huge potential because there is inherent need for technology infusion on a regular basis and anyone who's trying to build an IP or build a core tech product definitely is going to get my attention. What's your ticket size Hetal? And at what stage of the company you come in? I typically come in at a very low ticket size, I don't focus on a fixed number in mind, but I would definitely want to come in at an early stage. Entry stage because at the entry stage the value of the investor is the highest where the bond between the entrepreneur and the investor is very strong because he remembers you from early days perspective, number one. Second is obviously the multiples are higher. But the third important point is that at an early stage if there is correction to be made in terms of strategy or focus or identified market its lot more easier for entrepreneur to do that. That's the reason I prefer coming in at early stage.