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Last Updated : Oct 25, 2019 05:22 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Looking for next unicorn, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt keen on Indian startups

Schmidt has met entrepreneurs in Delhi and Bengaluru and has shown interest in startups with global potential and those backed by the government

Former Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt, also the founding partner of venture capital fund Innovation Endeavors, is in India in search of future unicorns.

According to sources, the 64-year-old Schmidt has met several entrepreneurs in the national capital Delhi as well as at the tech hub of Bengaluru in the last couple of days.

He has shown keen interest in technology firms targeting global audiences and also the ones backed by the government. "He wanted to understand India’s startup ecosystem and was particularly interested in government-supported startups," said an entrepreneur, who attended one of the interactions but requested anonymity as the meetings were private.

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Among the wealthiest persons in the world, Schmidt, whose net worth was estimated to be around $14 billion by Forbes earlier this year, is busy investing in startups in his individual capacity as well as through his venture capital fund.

Innovation Endeavors invests in transformational technologies and emergent ecosystems, the fund website says. It counts some of the most valued technology companies, including ride-hailing firm Uber and personal finance firm Sofi, as its portfolio companies.

The Delhi meeting was attended by around six startups and some high-net worth individuals. The gathering in Bengaluru was a mix of more than a dozen entrepreneurs and venture capital fund managers.

"His level of curiosity was amazing. He was keen to look at deep-tech companies and at the same time wanted to understand how these models could be accepted globally," said the person quoted above.

While there were no one-on-one meetings, Schmidt addressed the entrepreneurs in groups and then spent five to 10 minutes to understand everyone's business models.

He is also learnt to have asked the entrepreneurs to suggest ways in which companies such as Google could help them.

"He was super supportive of startups and asked what it will take to build an even better ecosystem. He also inquired about what Google can do better in India and for startups," said another person involved in these meetings.

Even though one of the entrepreneurs, Gaurav Munjal, co-founder of Steadview Capital-backed edu-tech startup Unacademy, tweeted about the Bengaluru meeting as insightful, he declined to comment when approached by Moneycontrol.

Schmidt is learnt to be in India as part of a US delegation. According to ANI, Schmidt said he would love to see India- build applications being used in his country.

Schmidt was brought to Google by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 2001 and was given the role of the chief executive officer (CEO). He exited the position a decade later and was made Google's chief executive chairman. He left the board of Alphabet, the parent firm of Google in April 2019, but remains a technical adviser.

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First Published on Oct 25, 2019 05:22 pm
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