Aprameya Radhakrishna, Co-founder of TaxiForSure, looks back on the heady journey he has been on and sums it up with a simple reflection:
It was all nothing but serendipity.
Serendipity Infolabs Pvt. Ltd. is the registered company under which ‘TaxiForSure’ had a bull run for almost four years, facilitating around five million cab rides. But at the start of 2015, this home-grown taxi aggregator, which claimed to “being used to beating Ola with less money”, in a turn of unexpected events, ended up being acquired by this very rival for $200 million. Right from the drunken conversation at a local pub that led to the company’s founding, the unsettling Uber rape case, the over-reliance on venture capital funds at the wrong time and it all culminating in one of the biggest sell-outs in the online consumer space, one wonders if it was serendipitous every step of the way, or if the path could have been altered in any way.
Post the sell-out, Aprameya and his Co-founder, Raghunandan G, worked in advisory capacity with Ola for sometime but decided to quit. They walked away with a 0.8 per cent stake in Ola, which was worth an approximate of Rs 120 crores. In his new avatar, Aprameya has turned angel investor and talks about life after TaxiForSure’s sell-out, his investment portfolio, philosophies and what could have he done differently, if given another chance.
Aprameya’s days are exciting. He meets 4-5 startups every day working across diverse sectors – listens keenly to their ideas and business strategies to scale, and tries to understand how he can add value– either financially or through his experience. He says,
I never say no to any conversation, for you never know, someone might just drop a hint to the next problem that can be solved.
Over the last year, he has invested in 12 startups – some public, some still under the wraps. His investments range between Rs 10 and 40 lakh. With a core focus on consumer space, Aprameya has made investments in companies such as Goodbox (a hyperlocal app that enables business operating in a brick-and-mortar structure to go online), Unacademy (online tutorials), Vyomo (on-demand beauty services), Daily Ninja (an online platform to manage daily needs) and YourDost (an online counselling startup) to name a few.
His investment philosophies, just like him, are simple and straightforward –
There was a time when it was only Ola and TaxiForSure in the market – fighting head-to-head. At that point, Aprameya and team were operating with a third of the capital that Ola had raised. He says,
We could have been more aggressive at that point. Our strategy was to go the profitability route and we stuck to that till it was too late, despite the fact that there were certain stages where we were ahead of our competitors and if we had pushed the peddle then, the story would have been different.
Of course, there are innumerable lessons that emerge out of Taxi For Sure’s story. But here are four key learnings Aprameya would like to share with fellow entrepreneurs –
Excited with his new innings as an angel investor, a matter of serendipity again, Aprameya hopes to disrupt the consumer space by increasing his portfolio to around 25 companies by next year.