Anil Joshi, Mumbai Angels on mentoring and investing in startups

23rd May 2011
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Started in November 2006, the Mumbai Angels is a forum where its members may interact and exchange ideas and knowledge. The Mumbai Angels provides a platform to startup and very early stage companies by bringing them face to face with successful entrepreneurs, professionals and executives who are interested in and have the funds available to invest in start up companies.The members of the Mumbai Angels typically consider investments of US$ 200,000 to US$ 500,000 and remaining as an investor in the company for a three to five year period prior to an exit pursuant to an initial public offering, trade sale or merger or acquisition. YourStory caught up with Anil Joshi to understand more about Mumbai Angels and their investment plans.Tell us more about Mumbai Angels.

Mumbai Angels was started with the intent of promoting entrepreneurship and we do that by providing angel investments to startups. At Mumbai Angels, an investment made is shared between many angel investors rather than one or two investors. The idea with which we started Mumbai Angels was to invest in groups. Mumbai Angels are completely sector agnostic. We have so far invested in many sectors ranging from Healthcare, IT, Telecommunication, Internet, Green Technologies and Retail. Started 4 years ago in 2006, we have made around 35 investments so far.

What do you look for in a startup before investing?

If the idea is solid, then we evaluate if the team has the necessary skill sets to translate the idea into a real business.

On being an investor with Mumbai Angels

Anybody who wants to be an angel with Mumbai Angels, can either apply online or approach us via a referral source. We look for angels who have domain expertise and are willing to invest time along with money.

You have been in the startup space in India for close to a decade now, how do you see the startup ecosystem evolve over a period of time?

Earlier, it was very difficult for a startup to approach investors, and even vendors for that matter. Now, there is a lot more institutional support for startups with many angel networks and incubators coming up.

Can you name a couple of investments that you have made in the past? And what led you to invest in these companies?

One example is InMobi. We have invested in them because of the growth area they were targeting. They had an excellent team in place with the necessary skill sets. We have invested in companies like Myntra, Dexl for similar reasons. Do check out our full portfolio here http://www.mumbaiangels.com/main/source/portfolio.html

What do you think are the gaps in the ecosystem right now? How can we address them?

I think the startup ecosystem in India is in a great need of genuine advisors and mentors. As a lot of young people are starting up, they would require hand holding during the early days. But, I think increasingly professionals and experts are willing to help these startups.

As someone who has worked closely with both investors and entrepreneurs, what do you think are the qualities that make a good investor?

Startups come with a lot of challenges, like finding the right team, having a proof of concept, creating the right kind of branding, etc. So people who can bring in domain expertise and can hand hold startups in early stages make good investors.

Would you like to tell us at YourStory how many investments you plan to make this year?

As a matter of practice, we evaluate 6 startups in each cycle(one cycle is 6 weeks long). Honestly speaking, we don’t target a specific number. It depends on the number of companies that excite the investors.

So, if you are a startup and are looking for funds, then do check out http://www.mumbaiangels.com for more details.

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