500 Startups Makes a Splash; Pankaj Jain Announces Investments in Instamojo, WalletKit, UberLabs and TradeBriefs

We are very very bullish on India,” said Paul Singh in an interview with Yourstory. And that they’ve proved to be. Announcing 2 new Venture Partners in Indian and NYC; the effects have already started to show. Pankaj Jain, the venture partner in India today on Twitter announced the investments in Instamojo (which happens to be a T30 company), WalletKit, TradeBriefs and UberLabs.

Paul Singh advised Indian investors to “Decide Faster!” and well, they’re following what they said. As an outsider, he also had some very pertinent observations about India that can be read here. So, the new investments announced in a flurry are rather interesting. Contacting Sampad Swain, he told us, “Instamojo will be moving to the States in a months time,” and more information would follow later this month.

Instamojo

Instamojo is a solution that lets the user sell digital creations simply by sharing unique checkout pagelinks. Instamojo is a simple payment system based on shortened URLs that makes everyone a merchant without installation of complicated scripts, technical know-how or signing up for merchant accounts. It can be used for software, music, video, photos, online courses, web & mobile apps, e-books and magazine or newspaper content.

(You can buy our detailed Tech 30 report and The State of the Startup Survey report on Instamojo)

Wallet Kit

WalletKit is a platform for businesses to create,manage and deliver digital boarding passes,tickets,store cards,coupons for mobile wallets.

Founders: Kevin and Ramakanth Dorai

TradeBriefs

TradeBriefs provides industry-specific news, global insight and the latest job openings to a users inbox. It is targeted towards:

Subscribers
TradeBriefs helps a subscriber understand trends in IT, Retail, Food, Software, Telecom, Finance and other areas of Business. Their moderated LinkedIn Groups bring ideas and best practices from across the industry and allow one to discuss relevant issues in a spam-free environment.

For Brands and Companies
They offer access to a premium audience of business decision-makers and engaged consumers. Through Newsletter and Email Marketing, they can help generate leads for a clients product or service and make the brand stand out in the crowd.

Founder: Vijay Kumar, an Carnegie Mellon University and IIT Mumbai Alumnus

Uberlabs: Uberlabs’ gazeMetrix helps brands to know and act upon when their products appear in pictures on social networks.

Founders: Deobrat Singh, Debayan and Saurabh Paruthi.

Here’s an exclusive conversation we had with Paul post the announcements:

YS:  What was it about these 4 startups that struck a chord?

Paul: These startups fit our model — they had product, they had traction, they have the core team, we believe they can become operational businesses for <$1M, they have clear revenue models, etc. Basically everything we have in our check list.

YS: How is the decision process at 500 startups? Does every investor need to have a 100% yes? 

Paul: On the initial investment, any Partner can make a decision individually. When Venture Partners first start with us, they route their deals through their sponsoring Partner — over time though, we expect them to be able to operate independently. To be very clear, this is why all of our Venture Partners spend a few months with us in Mountain View. (Paul Singh is the sponsoring partner for Pankaj Jain)

YS: How often will you be travelling to India? 

Paul:  I’ll continue to drop into India every 60 days or so — India’s a very important market for us and you’ll see that reflected by the fact that I’ll be coming often, we’ll be aggressively searching for the best startups and actively investing in them :) For subsequent follow-on investments, we have a more traditional model where there needs to be consensus within the partnership about ramping up to larger check sizes, etc.

YS: Are there other Indian companies you’ve already invested?

Paul: We’ve got more deals in the works as we speak.

Stay tuned for more news from 500 Startups.

(edited by Jubin Mehta)
[Note: Post was amended post inputs from Paul Singh]