Our focus in the last 15 years has been internet, specifically wireless. In India, we have a portfolio of 30 companies with around 10 in the internet/wireless domain. We go from seed stage investments to later stage investments as well.
Elements of Sustainable Venture Companies:
Things that we look for:
- Large Markets – Address existing markets poised for rapid growth and change. Example is TravelGuru which is a big market with scope of bringing in a lot of efficiency.
- Team DNA – ‘A’ Level founders attract ‘A’ level teams.
- Clarity of Purpose – Summarize company’s business on the back of a business card.
- Rich Customers – Target customers who will move fast and pay a premium. Eg: Jassi Chadha founded MarketRx.
- Insane Customer Focus – Customers will only buy a simple product with singular value proposition.
- Pain Killers – Pick an issue of burning importance and delight the customer with a compelling proposition. Eg: PayPal
- Think Differently – Take the contrarian route and create novel solutions. Eg: Shashi Reddy started testing services company.
- Agility – Stealth and speed will ususally help beat out large companies. Eg: Steve Chen and Chad Hurley started YouTube.
- Frugality – Focus spending on what’s critical. Eg: Nitish Mittersain started Nazara that has exclusive rights for sportsmen like Sehwag, Tendulkar.
- Inferno – Huge markets with customers yearning for a product developed by great engineers requires very little firepower.
We have always made more money with people who are not proven. We do 5-6 seed stage investments every year and we have some ability to assess the technology risk. Why should you come to us:
- Phenomenal track record in internet and technology space.
- Ability to foresee an idea, refine it and bring it out in a way that it is complementary to the team.
- History of 6 years in India, learnt from mistakes.
- Long term staying power. We were investing in 2000, 2001 when there were no investors.
Sandeep Singhal ( Sequoia Capital )