‘My greatest regret is not becoming an entrepreneur in my 20’s because I considered it risky’, says Sanjay Swamy of Prime Ventures

The Proust Questionnaire is about one’s personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularised by Marcel Proust, the French essayist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Sanjay Swamy is one of the founding partners of Bengaluru-based Prime Venture Partners, along with Amit Somani and Shripati Acharya. The VC firm is focused on bringing category-creating technology companies out of India for local and global markets. It believes in helping startups not only with access to capital but also mentor them to help transform into disruptive companies.

Prime Ventures has a portfolio of 25 startups so far, including the likes of Recko, MyGate, MoneyTap, Ezetap, and mfine among others.

Sanjay is known for his sense of humour and his impeccable expertise over fintech. Here are Sanjay’s responses to our Proust Questionnaire:

Sanjay Swamy

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Making the world better for others.

What is your greatest fear?

That common sense isn’t common.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Workaholic - I’m always on, even when on vacation.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Malice - doing something with the intent of hurting anyone, including a competitor in business, is unacceptable.

Procrastination - when I’m told something will be done at noon, they will get a call at 12:03pm!

Which living person do you most admire?

Among business professionals, it is Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey. Anyone who can run more than one company concurrently and do a great job of it has got to be a superhuman.

Among sports persons, I admire Roger Federer and Usain Bolt. They are consistent without any appearance of putting in an effort, while being thorough gentlemen. Among cricketers, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, and Rahul Dravid. What you saw is what you got - no complications in their personality.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Travel and food (not necessarily in that order!). I love driving wherever I go.

What is your current state of mind?

I’d like to believe that I’m generally chillaxed!

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Discipline - but is that a virtue in the first place?

On what occasion do you lie?

Only when I’m hiding a (positive) surprise - else telling a lie is NEVER an option, EVER!

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

I rarely bother to look at my (beautiful) self!

Which living person do you most despise?

Anyone who gets by with intellectual dishonesty makes my blood boil.

What is the quality you most like in a person?

Empathy and honesty.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Hmm - I have no idea - wait, maybe that’s it!

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Life and my family!

Which talent would you most like to have?

A sense of humour.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

A greater sense of humour!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

The continuous belief that the 'Best is Yet' to come.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Is a pet in a rich household an option?

Where would you most like to live?

Where I am now, Bangalore.

What is your most treasured possession?

My family, friends, partners, team, relationships, and memories are all priceless - can’t buy any of them!

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Trying to buy a relationship - or pretending to be someone else to do so!

What is your favourite occupation?

Anything that is motivated by helping others.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I can cry watching a movie even in a comedy - I really get into the role while watching a movie.

What do you most value in your friends?

Unambiguous continuity of the relationship - with true friends, when we meet, it’s like we were always together. We never ask each other what they did in-between.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Not much of a fiction person.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Nobody really - I am myself.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Been blessed to be exposed to several people who have amazing qualities - and I keep wanting to pick and choose those qualities and become a better version of myself.

What is your favourite name?

Sanjay! Else I’d have changed it!

What is it that you most dislike?

Being around people who talk like they’ve achieved a lot, and over a time start believing it themselves.

What is your greatest regret?

Not becoming an entrepreneur in my 20’s because I considered it risky.

How would you like to die?

Rich in experiences that I’ve hopefully shared with several people!

What is your motto?

  • Has to make common sense
  • Has to be fair
  • Has to be the truth

What advice do you have for others?

Focus on making the world better for others - do the right thing and good things will happen! Corollary for entrepreneurs - financial success is an outcome, never a goal.

(Edited by Megha Reddy)


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