Subrata Mitra, Accel Partners on Investments

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While the news of Accel Partners raising new round of funds is all over the media, we at YourStory wanted to know, what will this development mean for entrepreneurs … so here is an excerpt of our conversation with the Subrata Mitra, the prolific investor from Accel Partners India. Read on -Subrata, please tell us what are the focus areas/sectors for Accel? Will we see any changes in the sectors you invest in? 

Our investment priorities will remain the same. We will continue to invest primarily in areas like Internet (commerce, content & infrastructure), digital media, SaaS & enterprise technologies, mobile, health care and education intersecting with technology, and other high-growth areas. We will also continue to focus and invest in seed and early stage ventures. India is a huge market with immense potential; entrepreneurs catering to this market or with a focus from India to anywhere in the world can approach us.

Many of your investments have been in the Bangalore region, will it continue to be so? 

Seed and early stage investments require a lot of hand holding and support, and given the operating background of our partners, our involvement has been at fairly close quarters with the founders, especially when they are getting started.

Given that we are located in Bangalore it is significantly easier to dedicate face-time with our portfolio companies if they were local, though we have made investments irrespective of the geography, usually in businesses that are slightly later stage. To sum it, I will not term it as region-specific investments but investments where we think we will be able to genuinely add value by putting in our focused attention.

You have made 34 investments till date. What has guided you to invest in a particular venture/ entrepreneur? 

We have been very bullish about the founding team and their execution capabilities. Sounds cliched, but we have actually gone after entrepreneurs who live and breathe their ventures. I believe that the passion of the founding team is a huge value creator. To understand our investment motivations you have to understand our backgrounds (background of the Accel management team), all of us (the 4 partners Mahendran Balachandran, Shekhar Kirani, Prashanth Prakash and Subrata Mitra) have ourselves been entrepreneurs or have run substantial businesses, and been through the entire lifecycle of a business, including its ups and downs. We can easily relate to our entrepreneurs’ experiences, and are able to use our judgement of the founding team to guide our investment decisions. Once we like a team, we do want to ensure that they would operate in a space that we can add value, as well as one that’s likely to have venture type returns. So, a fairly simple process overall.

We have not heard you as much as we would like to in the media…why the long intervals of silence? 

We believe our investee companies should do the talking rather than us :)

Some of your investments have been jointly done with other funds…will we see more of such alignments in future investments. 

We are very open to partnering with other investors as long as it builds more value for the investee companies. Typically co-investors bring a different view-point, and enable us to share the load of advising & funding the company; we therefore believe it’s a good thing especially in high-risk early stage companies that we normally work with.

 

Shradha Sharma

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