We have been long talking about the need for Indian family businesses to start investing in our homegrown startups. Now, this is happening for sure. One such new family-run angel investor in town is Hiraco Ventures, part of the Hiraco India Pvt Ltd, led by the Sutaria family.Hiraco was founded by Dayabhai Sutaria, an entrepreneur himself. Originally the venture was called Hira Exports, to deal in Natts diamonds. From a humble beginning, this entrepreneurial family has gone to build a big business, all the while maintaining their position as the primary dealers of Natts diamonds in the world. Now, Dayabhai spends most of his time in philanthropy; and, having the DNA of an entrepreneur himself, he recognises the need to support startups. So, when his son Kavit Sutaria decided to look at the startup world as an interesting investment proposition, his father was very supportive. So, Hiraco Ventures is lead by Kavit Sutaria, as the founder, and Avik Ashar as the business head.
Hiraco Ventures believes in innovative ideas backed by smart people. Being a proprietary fund, they are not constrained by the size, sector to invest in etc.
Avik, Business Head at Hiraco Ventures says, "We are sector agnostic and can invest any amount required if we feel the deal is interesting. Our sweet spot is 50 lakhs to 1.5 crore. We do look at backing young startups but prefer ones with some traction and proof of concept (one to two year old) to come to us."
Value for the entrepreneurs
"There are several value adds that we can offer to entrepreneurs besides the cash. Being a diverse group, with interests in real estate, renewable energy and hospitality, to name a few, we have extensive networks that we can leverage to help entrepreneurs achieve their goals. We value relationships; and the depth of relations, we will use to support our entrepreneurs. We also have that diversity of experience, of starting each of these divisions up from scratch, so we understand what all it takes to start, run and scale a venture", says Avik.
Idea with potential
So what really attracts us about ideas is efficiency and void filling. We look at ideas that address unique Indian problems and come up with tailor-made solutions. From zoom car in Bangalore to local baniya in Mumbai, we see people waking up to obvious defects in the existing system and entrepreneurs trying to repair them. Personally, we are looking for ideas that make life easier and solve existing problems and challenges. It has to address some fundamental pain point.
What we love about angel investments is the interaction and enthusiasm of entrepreneurs and the sheer energy in this space. Being brand new in the market, this has opened our eyes to a world we were largely blind to. Though the decision to enter the market was made earlier, we realized that with the current liquidity crunch, this would be a good time for us to make a difference. Personally, I love reviewing new business plans on a daily basis. Though it hurts a little to tell someone their plan is not of interest or we think is not well articulated, the truly satisfying moment is when they take those comments in the right spirit and come back to you, maybe weeks later with an improved version after addressing those questions/suggestions.
“Angel investing is literally (the profit part aside) making dreams become a reality. It also becomes an exciting area for us, being apart from the monotony of a typical job/ business. We are very driven to make this a valuable proposition for everyone and ensure our entrepreneurs find their best partners in us and go on to succeed. We will be making at least 5 to 6 investments by 2014 end," says Avik.
Check out Hiraco Ventures here and reach out to them for your angel round!