[Year in Review 2021] Idea, investment, IPO: 50 quotes by investors on startup opportunities and founder relations

In this annual quotes compilation, we share investor insights on business shifts, startup growth, and founding teams. Happy leading!
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Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a regular feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our past articles. Share these gems and insights with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

With 44 startups reaching unicorn status in India this year, this has been an exciting and rewarding time for investors! The digital transformation and D2C movements, accelerated by the pandemic, have spurred investor opportunities around the world as well.

Drawn from our comprehensive coverage of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, we present 50 quotes from investors (see our earlier compilations from 2020 and 2019).

We have divided these 50 quotes into eight categories: Foundations, Founding teams, Founder tips, Fundraising, Exits, The India opportunity, The next wave, and The road ahead.

YourStory wishes all founders and funders a Happy New Year, with much success and scale ahead in 2022!

Foundations

We have a five-T matrix to evaluate startups. It comprises Team, Technology, Traction, Timing, and Total Addressable Market. - Himanshu Yadav, Woodstock Fund

Entrepreneurs today are looking for more than investors – they want value-add partners that understand consumers and brands. - Nicholas Cator, Venturi Partners

Risk is best understood as a combination of two factors - how reversible is the decision and how controllable the outcome. - Shripati Acharya, Prime Venture Partners

The first important step for any angel investor is to have a clear worldview of how things will shape up over the next 10-15 years. - Vivek Khare

Unlike investing in public markets, angel investing is not a momentum play where you blindly back popular companies or sectors. - Shanti Mohan, LetsVenture

Founding teams

Companies succeed because you back phenomenal founders. - Priya Mohan, Venture Highway

The right cofounder should have a similar mindset, and an aligned thought process for a great chemistry. - Anurag Jhanwar, Fintrust Advisors

The founder must demonstrate strong execution and domain skill sets for the startup to garner the investor’s interest. - Ashvin Chadha, Anicut Angel Fund

Adding the right member to your team – as a co-founder or otherwise – can pay rich dividends. - Shripati Acharya, Prime Venture Partners

Startup founders need to be mindful of the fact that their moat can be disrupted by their competitors, and must therefore strive to remain one step ahead. - Shivathilak Tallam, Unitus Ventures

Founder tips

Don’t spend time with people who tell you everything is great. You learn more from people who disagree with you. Be that active listener. - Vani Kola, Kalaari Capital

OKRs are simple and a very lightweight way to deliver 10X results. - Amit Somani, Prime Venture Partners

Building a startup is your sculpture, your work of art - and a legacy that will hopefully last beyond your time! - Sanjay Swamy, Prime Venture Partners

The ultimate measure of network effects is vertical cohorts and the best example will be Ola and Uber. - Avnish Bajaj, Matrix Partners India

A sound business model is important because firms should use venture capital money to build assets. But when it comes to growth, it should be funded by a firm's paying customers. - Anirudh Damani, Artha Venture Fund

Fundraising

One of the biggest challenges an early-stage entrepreneur faces is the tedious and time-consuming process behind raising capital. We believe innovation needs to be at the core of why and how founders interact with investors. - Sudhir Sethi, Chiratae Sonic

Private equity and public investors look at a company with a completely different lens, unlike a VC. - Rahul Khanna, Trifecta Capital

Raising more money than you need will make you splurge more. Sooner or later, you are going to lose financial prudence. - Sanjay Mehta, 100X.VC

More than acquiring the funding, you will need to work harder to deliver on your promise to your investors. - Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, 9Unicorn

The financial stress that comes with fundraising can be a significant distraction for first-time founders and young entrepreneurs. - Bhavik Vasa, GetVantage

You cannot think small when you go to investors. The objective is to pump in capital, acquire customers, and take up a sizable market share. - Vikrant Potnis, FundEnable.com

Exits

Exits play a huge role. They catalyse the whole ecosystem because they complete the loop. - Sateesh Andra, Endiya Partners

Remember that investors are looking at the potential exit, and that is mostly possible if the market size is big enough to allow for growth at each stage of funding. - Anurag Jhanwar, Fintrust Advisors

[Founders] should price the IPO in such a manner that upon listing, incoming investors make money and existing investors see increased value. - TV Mohandas Pai, Aarin Capital

Startups must understand the purpose behind the corporate association; some corporates are looking for startups that they can buy out, onboard as suppliers, or use their platform to promote their services. - Anurag Jhanwar, Fintrust Advisors

The India opportunity

Indian startup ecosystem is on a wealth creation spree. - Anas Rahman Junaid, Hurun India

India is poised to cross hundred billion-dollar companies by 2023. - Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, 9Unicorns

Worldwide, there is a huge amount of liquidity searching for yields. The recent events in China have turned the focus on India as the country has a similar profile, reach with valuations playing its role. - V Balakrishnan, Exfinity Venture Partners

For many years, Silicon Valley was the only interesting place for startups. Today, there so many startup ecosystems globally. Until 2013, only Israel, the US, and China would create unicorns. - Anand Rajaraman, Rocketship.vc

India is now home to 50+ unicorns and the third largest venture ecosystem globally. - Ashish Sharma, InnoVen Capital India Fund

One of the changes in the outlook of founders is the desire to solve the large and endemic problems of India. - Karan Mohla, Chiratae Ventures

Indian startups have a great opportunity to innovate and help to sustain the economy. - Padmaja Ruparel, IAN Fund

We can see a growing trend of investments in startups that are powering the India growth story, and seeing a Tier-II city startup performing competitively against a Mumbai or Delhi startup shows its capability. - Nandini Mansinghka, Mumbai Angels Network

A lot of venture funding is still concentrated in the metro cities such as Delhi-NCR, Bengaluru, and Mumbai, however, we have witnessed some very successful startups coming out of Tier-II cities and beyond. - Akshay Chhugani, Kisho Capital

A big number of individual investors are very bold. Indian family offices, generally very conservative, are also interested in startup investments. - Rahul Gupta, Radar Capital

One requires a lot of patience in India while investing, and there is no shortcut to success. - Abhishek Agarwal, Rockstud Capital

While the Indian startup ecosystem has revealed has the most talented and innovative minds building companies, it is critical for us to unlock India’s domestic capital. - Padmaja Ruparel, IAN Fund

The role of VC funding in India is considerably smaller. While India has witnessed the growth of 30-35 unicorns this year itself, most investors making them are foreign ones. - Siddarth Pai, 3one4 Capital

The next wave

The next couple of venture capital cycles may actually be more focused on climate tech. - Prashanth Prakash, Accel Partners

The huge industry of innovative footwear foresees a vast future with earth-friendly production and supply. - Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Venture Catalysts

Pollution and climate change is a trillion-dollar opportunity, not because of righteousness, but because of cheaper, effective, and sustainable solutions that will replace existing solutions. - Sumeet Singh, Climate Angels Fund

We like it when entrepreneurs create a business case for sustainability. - Manoj Kumar, Social Alpha

The road ahead

India is in a unique position to build companies for the next billion users (NBU) that are also globally relevant. - Ritu Verma, Ankur Capital

India will see many more large VC firms being built over the next decade. - Yash Jain, Sparrow Capital

It’s necessary for our startup ecosystem to have more women so that there is inclusive growth. Supporting companies that have a woman in key decision-making roles is also important to bring about a cultural shift in the ecosystem at large. - Vani Kola, Kalaari Capital

There is a tremendous change in the mind space of the founders with regard to venture debt and we expect the deployment of this capital to go up significantly in the next one to two years. - Ishpreet Singh Gandhi, Stride Ventures

Very few platforms or angels invest in young and passionate student startups. - Ankur Jain, HostelFund

Startups are becoming mainstream at an ever-faster pace. - Subrata Mitra, Accel India

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Edited by Megha Reddy

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