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Nexus VP co-founder Naren Gupta, pioneer of venture capital in India, passes away

He is survived by his wife, Vinita Gupta, and two daughters.

December 26, 2021 / 10:47 PM IST
Nexus Venture Partners co-founder Naren Gupta. (Image:

Nexus Venture Partners co-founder Naren Gupta. (Image:

Naren Gupta, the co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners and a pioneer of venture capital in India, passed away at the age of 73, the venture capital firm said in a statement on December 26, 2021. Nexus is one of India's largest venture capital firms and an investor in unicorn startups such as Postman, Delhivery, Druva, and Unacademy.

"It with profound sadness that we announce the sudden demise of Dr. Narendra Gupta, 73, Co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners on December 25th. He is survived by his wife, Vinita Gupta, and two daughters. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in this very difficult time. Naren was a stalwart in the global technology and entrepreneurial ecosystems and a pioneer of Indian venture capital. He was a mentor and a close friend to all of us at Nexus and we will miss his passion, caring nature, and towering intellect", a spokesperson said in a statement.

Gupta was based in Menlo Park, California. He was among the early backers of Indian startups. After completing his engineering from IIT Delhi, he did his Masters from Caltech followed by a PhD from Stanford University. Gupta founded software firm Integrated Systems in 1980, took it public in the US, and merged it with Wind River, which Intel acquired for $900 million in 2009.

He founded Nexus Venture Partners along with Suvir Sujan and Sandeep Singhal in 2006 and has been actively investing in Indian startups for the last 15 years. Nexus is one of India's earliest and largest homegrown venture capital firms, managing over $1.2 billion.

The firm was essentially a cross-border fund; it had an investment team in the US led by co-founder Gupta who invested in the booming enterprise software market. The startups it invested in catered to mid-size and large American and European corporations.

His loss comes at a crucial juncture for the VC firm, with its other founder Singhal too leaving the firm this year to pursue other interests. Moneycontrol reported in May this year that Singhal is stepping down from his role and will not be involved in the firm's $500 million sixth venture fund that it is raising or any future funds

Gupta also had very strong connections with Limited Partners in the US (entities and individuals who put money in VC firms) and was credited with turning Nexus around after its bets in Housing, ShopClues and Snapdeal went awry a few years ago. Nexus’ unicorns from only the last one year- startups valued at over a billion dollars include Unacademy, enterprise software firm Postman and B2B marketplace, while IPO-bound Delhivery and software firm Druva’s valuations have doubled to about $3 billion as well.

Gupta is largely credited for Nexus' US and SaaS bets, something that has paid huge dividends for the firm. US-based advertising platform Pubmatic too went public last year at a $1.4 billion valuation, where Nexus holds a 25 percent stake.

Apart from the founders, Nexus’ other managing directors are India-based Anup Gupta and Sameer Brij Verma, and Silicon Valley-based Jishnu Bhattacharjee.
Chandra R Srikanth is Editor- Tech, Startups, and New Economy
first published: Dec 26, 2021 09:48 pm
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