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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
*I am restricting the scope of this piece to an active funding round wherein there is interest from both sides and in-depth interactions have happened, rather than routine first meetings and preliminary interactions. For the record, closure is equally important in both cases. The last couple of months have been particularly enjoyable for me as […]
07 Oct 2013
Startups founders grapple with a plethora of challenges – be it attracting early adopters, filling key gaps in the management team or adequately capitalizing the company. Given the extreme diversity of these issues, it becomes impossible for a founding team to single-handedly tackle all these aspects. In this scenario, entrepreneurs typically resort to approaching ‘mentors’ […]
06 Jul 2013
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.
03 May 2013
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.
21 Feb 2013
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!
02 Jan 2013
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.
09 Nov 2012
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.
14 Sep 2012
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.
25 Aug 2012
Correctly timing the VC fundraising round can be extremely critical. And there are several well-known factors that govern it – product status, revenue traction, business model proof points, team build-out etc. However, there is one more extremely important factor that doesn’t often come up in discussions but plays a critical role behind VC decision-making – […]
20 Jul 2012
Despite attracting billions of dollars in investments, the Indian healthcare system has failed to provide effective health services to 1.2 billion people. The core challenges are straightforward – Accessibility, Availability and Affordability; however, tackling them requires disruptive and contextual solutions. The following infographic highlights how Indian technology entrepreneurs will be key to addressing the woes […]
13 Jun 2012
I know this piece is going to be controversial, and might lead to several heated debates. But, as part of my endeavor to remove information barriers between entrepreneurs and the VC community, I will still go ahead and write it. Most VCs see thousands of b-plans over their investing period, eventually funding only an extremely […]
11 May 2012
The title sounds awkward, doesn’t it? Look up the Internet, and you will find hundreds of articles (including some by yours truly) about elevator pitches, how to reach out to VCs, how to trace them in events, most effective ways to get introductions to VCs etc. And you can’t blame authors for writing on these […]
24 Apr 2012
Consider the following scenarios: Scenario 1: Tech Networks is a high potential software products company in the education space. It’s already starting to see traction pick up with Indian higher education institutions when lo and behold, it receives an inbound query from a potential channel partner in the Middle East. The Partner asks for exclusivity […]
28 Feb 2012
– Soumitra Sharma, IDG Ventures India Feels great to be writing my first article of 2012 for YourStory! As we step into the New Year, what better topic than to address the first step several entrepreneurs looking to fund-raise, will be taking this year – creating the perfect Teaser for VCs. For the uninitiated, a Teaser […]
17 Jan 2012
The global Big Data explosion and associated analytics opportunities have been well spoken and written about by now, courtesy the Economic Times, NASSCOM Product Conclave and the usual suspect – Gartner. To cite one example, global retailers such as Walmart and Tesco collected tons of customer data through the 80’s and 90’s and then realized […]
14 Dec 2011
Guest article by Soumitra Sharma, IDG Ventures India As a young venture, getting the first customers is hard. As one can imagine, getting the first ‘right’ customers is even harder. For bootstrapped entrepreneurs, any dollars that come their way are literally worth their weight in gold. However, from the perspective of revenue sustainability, it’s important that […]
23 Nov 2011
As a high-potential startup talking to numerous investors across the board, how many times have you heard the following statements – how will you scale the business? We see scalability challenges in the business model. It’s good that you have established a strong presence in NCR; but, how will you scale up across other major […]
07 Oct 2011
Guest article by Soumitra Sharma, IDG Ventures India After spending more than 30 years building the world’s most valuable technology company, Steve Jobs recently stepped down as Apple’s CEO. Steve has indeed changed the way the world views technology, the way businesses view innovation and the way entrepreneurs build businesses. In fact, he has laid the […]
01 Sep 2011