[Watch] 'Entrepreneurs make something out of nothing and make us believe that we can hit it out of the park,' say Accel's Subrata and Prashanth
For those of you reading this, and more so if you have been a participant in the Indian startup story, will be aware of the enviable position 15-year-old venture capital fund Accel India enjoys in the minds of entrepreneurs and founders. Not to forget the home run it had with Flipkart’s mega $16 billion acquisition deal by Walmart.
What has intrigued me over the years is how they have silently been able to create a strong fund with even stronger values and ethos.
In this video interview, join me in understanding from one of the finest investors in India what it means to inculcate an ethos of co-creating with entrepreneurs whom they fund, evolution in the venture capital space, big exits, and how they personally made a shift from being entrepreneurs to investors.
[Watch the full video interview here]
Recently, Accel India announced that it had closed its sixth India fund to the tune of $550 million. With this new capital, the VC firm continues placing bets in seed and early-stage startups across India despite the reigning sentiments of a slowdown.
Started in 2005 in India, Accel India is credited with placing some early bets on more than 100 early-stage Indian startups, including Flipkart, Swiggy, and Freshworks. Some of these early bets, which Accel terms as its ‘Originals’, have given the firm happy dividends and a reputation of a ‘kingmaker’ in the Indian startup ecosystem.
In this insightful conversation, Subrata and Prashanth tell me how in 2004 when they were trying to build their own company, they found themselves on the other side through a few twists of fate.
They built a $10 million fund which they used for early-stage investing. With this foundation they were set to realise their vision of redefining the investing landscape with new ideas: working from the ground-up with entrepreneurs, offering value at every stage, and building trust.
Over time, these beliefs turned into a winning culture that not only enabled entrepreneurs to realise their dreams but also inspired their teams to imbibe a whole new way of adding value.
The trick, they say, is learning to strike a balance. Between being prepared and being open to experimentation. Between relying on conventional wisdom and tapping into one’s intuition. Perfecting the balance involves immersive work and patience. Sometimes, it can take a year to understand the founder and the business one has chosen to back, they say.
When it comes to exits, they acknowledge that the ecosystem is only about 10+ years old. So, while exits may not create billions of dollars, there are now instances in India where they range from $100-$300 million.
On this and the IPO front, the ecosystem is maturing in their opinion; companies still have to pave their way out, and convince institutional and public investors that they can be sustainable.
Through this journey of visioning, development, growth, and exits, what satisfies them the most is the knowledge that they are helping the economy - from enabling a new generation find employment to adding to the GDP.
India, they say, is the new land of opportunity in the global narrative. And they are here to partner with the hungry and the restless to open new frontiers for everyone.