Author - Soumitra Sharma

Soumitra Sharma Soumitra Sharma is part of the Investments Team at IDG Ventures India, a US$ 150 million venture capital fund focused on investing in Indian technology and technology-enabled businesses. Its India portfolio consists of 20 companies – Agile Financial Technologies, Apalya, Aujas Networks, ConnectM, eShakti, FirstCry, Forus Health, iCreate Software, iProf India, iViz Techno Solutions, Manthan Systems, Myntra, Ozone Media, Perfint, Sourcebits Technologies, Valyoo Technologies, Vserve, Zivame, 3D Solid Compression and Kreeda. The fund is part of IDG Ventures, a global network of technology venture funds with over US$6 billion under management, over 220 investee companies and 10 offices across Asia and North America. If you would like to discuss your venture or business plan, or simply bounce off any ideas, Soumitra can be reached at You can also follow him on Twitter @soumitra_sharma. :: Disclaimer :: The views and opinions expressed in this column are strictly personal, and not those of any organization/institution the author is or has been a part of, nor is made in any official capacity of such organization/institution, unless explicitly stated otherwise. None of the information, views and opinions in the column should be construed as business or legal advice.

  • Delivering a Killer Networking Pitch

    The entrepreneurship events circuit has gathered extraordinary momentum in India over last 2-3 years, with platforms such as YourStory taking the lead. Events such as TechSparks, Mobisparks, e-Sparks, Edustars etc. have served as excellent platforms to hobnob with potential investors, customers, employees and collaborators.

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  • [Budget 2013] Letter to the Finance Minister – 10 Point Budget Agenda to Boost Entrepreneurship

    Dear Mr. Finance Minister,

    Hope you are doing well, and burning the midnight oil in trying to figure out the best way forward for Indian economy. Amidst the slowdown in power sector, shrinking margins of telecom sector, postponement of infrastructure projects and social gloom around women’s safety, I would like to draw your attention towards the Indian entrepreneur. The one who, in between all the gloom and despair, still gets up in the morning with all the optimism and energy there can be, and steps out to address unsolved problems that face both our country and the world. I write to you as a venture capital investor in India, having a ring side view of the highs and lows of this eccentric (that’s what society labels him) entity’s life.

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  • Venture Recap 2012 – E-commerce, Accelerators, Cabs … and More!

    While the year 2012 took some macroeconomic sheen off the India growth story, the Indian entrepreneurship juggernaut only moved from strength to strength. As per Venture Intelligence, close to USD 750 million was invested in the Indian VC space across 200 deals in CY2012. Be it the full page coverage by Economic Times every Friday, networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or freshly minted Indian engineers and MBAs, everyone seems to be bitten by the entrepreneurship bug!

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  • Doing Due Diligence on the VC – The Value of Speaking to Portfolio CEOs

    Any entrepreneur who has gone through the institutional fundraising process would completely understand the pain of due diligence (DD) process done by VCs. Except for talking to your family (and there are instances of indirect reference checks on them as well!), expect the VC to map out your previous bosses, colleagues, co-founders, reportees, friends, investors etc. However, with the entrepreneur and VC entering into the proverbial ‘marriage-that-you-can’t-divorce’, it’s important that founders too, understand their investors in a similar in-depth manner.

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  • Using Academia to Create Value for Your Startup

    The number of “tech-heavy” and “R&D intensive” Indian startups has been growing exponentially. Amidst all the talk of Indians not having a technology and research DNA and a faulty education system, a bunch of technology entrepreneurs across diverse age groups and backgrounds are silently pioneering a real research and innovation revolution in the country.

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  • Angel and VC valuations – Two Completely Different Animals

    With the angel eco-system (am including friends, family etc. in this) gradually coming of age in India, most startups being evaluated by VCs already have angel investors on-board. As angel round valuation is typically the first external valuation set for the venture, entrepreneurs often benchmark the Series A VC valuation with what their angels have given them. This is especially true when the angel pre-money valuation is very high. In several cases, this becomes a big negotiation roadblock and often, the wrong choice of institutional investor gets made in the end.

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