Meet some of this year’s most active angel investors in Indian startups
Angel investing has soared in recent years, as many individuals seek better returns on their money than what they can get from traditional investment methods.
An angel investor is someone who helps out startups early in their lifecycle, and generally puts in funds in the range of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 3 crore. While some may opt for an exit when a startup raises venture capital investment, many stay on to see their investments multiply manifold.
India, the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, has a robust and growing angel investment network. However, the number of early-stage deals has been falling over the past couple of years. While H1 2018 saw 182 deals in the pre-Series A space mop up $117.23 million, it remains to be seen if the year can surpass the $203 million raised over 421 deals in 2017. This is lower than 2016 ($214 million across 693 pre-Series A deals) and 2015 ($210 million across 542 deals). This is being supplemented to an extent with the government also stepping in to provide young companies a leg-up.
Here are some of the most active Indian angel investors of 2018 and their funding history, (in no particular order).
Anupam Mittal is a classic example of an entrepreneur-turned-investor. The founder and CEO of People Group, which owns businesses like matrimony site Shaadi.com, property portal Makaan.com, and mobile entertainment provider Mauj Mobile, has invested in close to 30 startups ranging from angel/seed funding to pre-Series A rounds.
Having become an entrepreneur in 1997, Mittal is an early believer in India’s startup ecosystem and began investing in 2011 as an early investor in Ola. His investment portfolio spans co-working spaces, real estate, healthcare, hyperlocal and mobile, among others. This year, he’s invested in five startups so far, including visual blogging platform Trell.
Anupam has also experimented with the movies – he produced Flavors in 2002 and 99 in 2009. After all, his Twitter profile does describe him as an “Entrepreneur, Explorer, Eternal Optimist”.
Based out of Mumbai, Anupam is a board member at Lets Venture and College Search. He is also a founding member and past chairman of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Co-founder and Group CEO of India’s largest ecommerce company Flipkart, Binny Bansal needs no introduction. What may not be commonly known is that he has made close to 30 personal investments, including in Cure.Fit, the health and wellness platform co-founded by former colleague and Myntra founder Mukesh Bansal.
Binny’s other investments include test prep and online learning platform Unacademy, news app Inshorts, social platform Roposo, and freshly packed FMCG food startup YumLane, among others.
His first investment was in 2013 in Giveter, an online platform that offers gift recommendation services for men and women. This year, Binny has made already four investments - YumLane, lending platform Avail Finance, biotech startup Pandorum Technologies and healthtech analytics player SigTuple, which recently raised a Series B round.
SaaS platform Freshworks (earlier Freshdesk) joined India’s ‘unicorn’ club earlier this year with a valuation of over $1 billion. It’s founder, Girish Mathrubootham, familiar with the struggles of entrepreneurs, began investing in startups a few years ago and is widely regarded for his encouragement of early-stage startups.
Based in Chennai, Girish has made has made over 20 investments so far, including four in 2018, across a wide variety of sectors. There’s media startup FactorDaily, logistics player Pando, SaaS startup Paperflite, and blockchain fintech startup Zenprivex (ZPX). He has also invested in startups like gadget repair provider iService, edtech platform Unacademy, and online printing marketplace, Inkmonk.
Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director of Google, South East Asia and India, is quite possibly one of the most high-profile angel investors in the country, focusing on early-stage technology companies.
Rajan has made a total of 58 investments, with three investments in 2018 that include lingerie brand Buttercups, connected care app for pregnant women PregBuddy, and visual blogging platform Trell. Some of his other investments include Unacademy, agri supply chain startup CroFarm, on-demand delivery service Dunzo, and Inclov, a matchmaking platform for people with disabilities.
A frequent speaker at startup-related events across the country, he has often said that it is a great time to become an entrepreneur in India. Rajan also spearheads Google’s initiatives in India’s startup ecosystem. Prior to joining Google, he worked with McKinsey & Company, Dell and Microsoft.
Anand Chandrasekharan was Chief Product Officer (CPO) at Airtel when he made his first angel investment in online fashion shopping app, Fynd. Since then, he has served as CPO of Freecharge and Snapdeal and is now Director, Product/Platform Parternships at Google. He may have moved back to Silicon Valley but his investments in India’s startup ecosystem continue.
This year, he invested in Buttercups, deep learning and AI solutions provider Silversparro, online wealth management platform ORO Wealth and contactless payments enabler, ToneTag. Anand has backed Silversparro, ORO Wealth and Buttercups earlier too. Entrepreneurs he has supported have talked about how hands-on he is with understanding their problems and offering solutions that few others are able to.