'Saying no is the hardest part of my job' - an investor speaks


Investors share insights on how learning new ideas and job creation through investee companies was what they felt proud of, and how refusing entrepreneurs was the hardest job.

It is not easy to get investors together to the table, but when that happens, there is free-flowing exchange of ideas, moments of pride and some challenges. A panel discussion on “The changing face of the Indian investor in 2018” had noted investors candidly agreeing they all had learned much from entrepreneurs who pitched to them.

When YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma asked what they enjoyed about being an investor, the answer was almost unanimous - meeting a lot of interesting people who were lively and energetic with a mission to create a successful business.

The investors all also said that one of the toughest parts of their job was refusing investment to an entrepreneur.

Naganand Doraswamy, Founder and Managing Partner of Ideaspring Capital, said the quality of entrepreneurs has been improving over the last three to four years and that excited him about this space. "Though technological innovation is still farther away, product innovation has picked up. Acceptability of Indian products in the Indian market has improved.”

Sateesh Andra, Managing Director of Endiya Partners told the auditorium packed to capaciy with entrepreneurs that they should ahve a roadmap to go international. He said, “Competitors are not only from local market. Founders have to be aware of their competitors - both local and foreign because tomorrow, foreign competitors can come to India. Some of the startups also go global gradually after getting critical mass and some go global from day one. Entrepreneurs should have the ability to morph. Competition is now global. Don’t just look at India market.”

Indian startups have, of late, seen a rise in the number of investments from Japan and China, and on this, Karthik Reddy, Managing Partner of Blume Ventures, said, "Investors from China are very keen on betting on scale after seeing success in their home market. The earliest they come is Series A.”

Karthik said Japanese investors were similar to corporate VCs. “Before they take a leap of faith, they want a financial investor from India to handhold them because either they don’t have people on the ground or they don’t understand India from a regulatory perspective.”

The panel members also advised startup founders to actively network in the ecosystem, and not wait for the right VC. “If you are credible entrepreneurs, go and take funds from friends and family members," said Karthik.

Talking about who to pitch to, Sateesh said, “The early stage ecosystem has evolved in the last five years. There is a plethora of investors for early-stage startups. Accelerators, incubators, corporate accelerators, angel networks, dedicated seed funds, sometimes Seed A investors and many more. Do your homework and approach the right guy. Doing a lot of due diligence is a must. Bad money for good company is bad.”

YourStory's annual extravaganza TechSparks brings together the best and the brightest from the startup ecosystem, corporate world, policy makers, and of course, the investor community. Over the years, it has grown to become India's most loved tech and startup platform for knowledge sharing and networking. The ninth edition of TechSparks also marks YourStory's 10th anniversary. A big thank you for all your support over the years and keep reading and watching YourStory.