Merry Christmas. Give India some more ballsy angels

I’m mostly a spectator investor since last 8 months, with less than two personal deals post Morpheus. Writing this as someone who knows a thing or two about investing in India.

Only 15? That’s how reacted when I saw Pluggd.in’s list of the most promising consumer Internet startups out of India. Why not 50 to watch? or even 25! India has plenty of raw talent, desire to not fail and kick-butts. What’s lacking is a light which shows them that entrepreneurship is yet another career option.

A quick analysis of VCCircle puts the count of angel deals this year to less than twenty-five. Let’s double the number to account for un-announced deals, that brings this to fifty. Freaking 50. That’s it. I’m sure Indian Angel Network alone has more than 100 members!

That’s my wish to Santa for India’s tech venture entrepreneur ecosystem–We need more angels who are ballsy and do ballsy deals. Another wish, we need more investors who really are worthy of being called angels. For me an angel is someone who does a) at least 5-6 deals every year or at least $100K in investments and b) Leads at least 25% of his investments. Hopefully, Indian angels who interacted with Geeks On a Plane travellers, follow up on their word and start closing. Rest are investors looking to double/triple the money in 18 months.

Merry Christmas.

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  • Vikram

    “Be the change you want to see in the world”. 
    The risk appetite for great technologies among the Indian Angels is very low. They want to invest into things that a direct revenue model and will make money on day 1. 

    When great technologies which have an indirect revenue model are presented to them, they want to just crush the great vision that the entrepreneur has and ask him to pivot his idea and turn it into an eCommerce venture so that it makes money on day1. The indirect revenue technologies will make money only after an year or two after they have a huge corpus of data and a million users, and thats here things become indigestible for most Indian Angels. 

    Entrepreneurs and Angels both think that India should produce atleast one software giant like the giants in the valley. But Angels forget that a large part of the onus is on them. Only when they learn to ‘fail’ in 7/10 ventures, 3 moderate successes, only then will they find that 1 huge success. But they are much risk averse, they are happy with 5 low-to-moderate successes each year.

    What’s new on the scene? Geeks-on-a-plan were here and they were looking for opportunities to invest. Why? because they know the facts that I have stated above.

    Its got to start somewhere. Are you up for it?

    P.S.: The above is true for most, but not all, Angels, VC’s in India. There are a few exceptions that I know of. I have refrained from taking any names either on the positive or the negative side of things.

    • Vikram: I did an Episode one with a small contribution to the ecosystem for 2 years. You have to independently verify whether it was veritable! Right now, making an attempt to amass some ammo for a future Episode two.

      What you are saying is correct. I’m at loss as to how this problem will  be solved. Exits first? Buyers galore? Dunno the right answer.

    • Vikram

      Indus: I met you a couple of times in episode one. Once in a socializing event and then a one-to-one meeting. Unfortunately your response was similar to what I mentioned above – “can you somehow morph your product into an ecommerce tool?” I cannot blame you completely for that mindset because I know you came from Tejit which itself was all about user data corpus and derived information. And my expectation was that you will understand the needs and potential of another such startup, but something in the ecosystem must have been responsible for your response back then.

      Be assured, that particular instance is not my point of contention against you or my motivation to write the first comment I wrote above. My first comment is a reflection of the sullenness I have seen among the Indian angels towards late-revenue startups.

      About the solution to the problem. I too don’t have a straightforward solution. And maybe I (an entrepreneur) don’t understand the genuine problems on the other side of the table (investors) completely. But I think the solution is very much with the community (entrepreneur + angels/vc’s) that is the creating the problem in the first place. One key ingredient is patience and not 3x in 18 months, as you said. They both have to get out of the overnight-success mental model. Its a topic that we (entrepreneur + angels/vc’s) can discuss for hours together and I ‘believe’ we can come to a solution if we do it together, so I won’t try to improvise on it any further in this comment.

      Looking forward to your episode two.

      P.S.: I have been kind of anonymous here. If you want me to get in touch right away, let me know.

    • When I was starting with episode one in 2009, I was super bullish on e-commerce opportunity in India. In that era, Flipkart was still in the making with less than 10 crores in revenue (today they are at 500 crores). We tried doing one investment but it did not grow beyond a certain point. Probably, that was the reason I may have tried convincing you to morph into an e-commerce biz.

      I’m still bullish on derived data for consumer internet but not looking into that sector any more..restless as we are!

      If you are still building, what you were building when we met then hats off to your focus and perseverance. Would definitely love to meet in the coming year. Drop me a note.

  • We truly believe its a long journey with space for plenty of travellers to be part of this era.