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'He is his own ecosystem': Inside Kunal Shah's unique angel investing frenzy

The CRED founder is disrupting how entrepreneurs part with money. Kunal Shah often invests after receiving pitches on a WhatsApp message. He has an astonishing count of angel investments—200 and counting. The unconventional style has raised eyebrows, but tells you a lot about Shah. Moneycontrol profiles the man and brings out previously unreported details on his investing style

Mumbai / September 23, 2021 / 08:49 PM IST
Illustration: Suneesh K

Illustration: Suneesh K

It took a minute for Kunal Shah to commit $20,000 to a new startup he had never heard of. At 3:20 pm, an investor sent Shah a short message on WhatsApp, detailing the financing company’s pitch. At 3:21 pm, Shah replied, agreeing to invest the money as part of a half-a-million-dollar funding round, according to the exchange of messages Moneycontrol reviewed.

The episode offers a peek into the investment habits of Shah, founder and CEO of fintech firm CRED. Shah, 42, is India’s most active, prolific and arguably powerful angel investor.

Shah has more than 200 investments under his belt. He has made double the angel investments than the closest contenders on the list —Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl and former Google India head Rajan Anandan who have each put money in 103 companies, according to data tracker Tracxn. Other well-known angels such as Livspace’s Ramakant Sharma, Flipkart’s Binny Bansal and Jupiter’s Jitendra Gupta all have between 40 and 70 angel investments.

As he aims to disrupt how people pay their credit card bills and manage their money, Shah is also disrupting how entrepreneurs make angel investments.