A bird's eye view of the startup ecosystem through the eyes of one such exec-turned-venture capitalist â€” Alok Goel, MD of venture and growth equity firm Saif Partners.
Entrepreneurs love investors who have built businesses of their own, and that is why several senior entrepreneurs put money in early-stage ventures. Then there are executives who cross over to the other side.
CNBC-TV18's Adith Charlie and Arundathi Ramanan get a bird's eye view of the startup ecosystem through the eyes of one such exec-turned-venture capitalist - Alok Goel, MD of venture and growth equity firm Saif Partners. He is known by many names like the Kingmaker, the man with the Midas touch.
He was at the helm of top startups like Redbus and Freecharge when they were acquired for record figures not too long ago. Now, as he gets used to meeting with 15 fresh-faced entrepreneurs every week looking for investors, he says, the cross-over to this side of things has been life-changing.
“The journey is phenomenal, humbling and enriching experience", he says.
Saif Partners is not new to the Indian startup ecosystem. In over a decade in India, the V-C Fund has chalked up marquee investments like Justdial and makemytrip and nurtured them into giants in their respective sectors.
But Goel says trends in investing are changing. Saif Partners, which raised USD 350 million in 2015 for its fifth indie-specific fund, says the line between early-stage financing and venture funding is getting blurred.
The mainstream focus is on high growth spaces like education, finance and healthcare.
However, Goel is taking a "quality is king" approach.
The V-C game is not without its own hurdles and pitfalls, especially when it comes to regulation and the law of the land. Goel says that instances like Sequioa Capital's offices in Bengaluru being searched by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the ongoing investigation into eye and dental care chain Vasan Healthcare is part of life.
Therefore, net-net, the Indian start-up ecosystem is in fine fettle and while there may be talk of some members of the unicorn club going belly-up, the law that only the fittest will survive is as true here as it is in the jungle.