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Jan 09, 2021
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Backing good people is more important than backing good businesses - Rohit Goyal, Windrose Capital

Rohit Goyal, Managing Partner at Windrose Capital


 

We interviewed some of the top Investors from across the world on their venture investing journey, startups, and India. Here, Rohit Goyal, Managing Partner at Windrose Capital shares his responses.

 

  1. What is your motivation to be in the venture investing business?

    Ans: 

    We are pretty consistent in our goals and the purpose of our fund. We want to be able to enable the future of digital India. Fortunately, our motivation is what drives us to be able to do this every single day and so it hasn’t changed even a bit all these years, which is to be able to bring forth India's fast transforming economy through the early stage and mid-stage startups.

    We're at a prime time of experiencing some quality startups with innovations that can help the customers in their daily lives and make an impact on our future; so for us there couldn’t have been a better time to be a part of this eco-system. What also motivates me personally in daily life, is to be around such driven people and learn from them. I am very curious about things by nature and have this constant insatiable need of learning as much as I can. Whether it is my team at Windrose Capital or the founders that we meet, it helps tremendously to be surrounded by such driven and informed individuals since there is always something new to learn every day!
     

  2. Describe your workday and leisure day, how does it look like

    Ans: 

    As a founder of any business, the line between a work-day and a leisure-day is constantly blurred. I also struggle a bit in this aspect. To be able to take some time off the work and call it ‘leisure’.

    Probably the only thing that differs between the two, is that on a proper workday, there is a load of administrative responsibility that is to be undertaken. With value creation activities, on the other hand, it never really stops and there is no difference between a workday or leisure day there. I even have meetings lined up on new years!

     

  3. Help describe your investment thesis and ideas you would like to back

    Ans: 

    We pride ourselves in being disciplined investors and whenever the stakes seem too high we always remind ourselves that we’re first ‘disciplined’ and then an ‘investor’, since investors can at times favor profitable opportunities no matter what the rationale behind it is. In fact, on the very first page of our thesis, we have this quote by Warren Buffet which says: ‘We DON’T have to be smarter than the rest, we have to be more disciplined than the rest’

    We exist to create capital value by harnessing disruptive efficiency-driven opportunities in the Indian Startup space. India, a nation of 1.3 billion dreams, is currently poised at the edge of the greatest technology shift since 1700 A.D. At Windrose we are well alert to the unique potential the founders of this country have and so, exist to enable potential Indian Unicorns to arrive onto the global stage. The way we plan to do this is not by flamboyant genius or luck (though we welcome both), but by plodding the trusted, plain and boring path: By placing disciplined bets on probable successes in tech-driven, business-focused ventures, after ensuring that they are led by some of the most disproportionately mission-driven people one can ever meet.

    Although we are sector agnostic, our investment & entrepreneurial experiences in particular domains, have developed our disposition towards the following Tracks:

    a) Fin-Inclusion (Both B2B & B2C)
    b) B2B Tech: Enterprise SaaS & SME Tech
    c) B2B Deep Tech: AI/ML, NLP, Computer Vision, IoT, Edge computing, and other embedded technologies 

     

  4. What are your 5 key learnings from your experience as a venture investor?

    Ans:
    1. Backing good people is more important than backing good businesses: We have some incredible founders in our portfolio. This is why they are successful, they were able to pivot their entire business model when needed and managed not only to survive but also thrive.
    2. Don’t fall for ‘trends’: We are disciplined investors, so we don’t necessarily fall for trends but we stick to our investment goals and our vision.
    3. As a VC investor, you’re in it to ‘capture’ value: Always know your exit strategy. But make sure it also benefits your founders and their teams.
    4. Things evolve and change so don’t have a fixed plan, always be adaptable: I personally think that though it is essential to think long-term, it’s foolish to have a rigid plan for after three or five years since things can change anytime. So, always be quick and adaptable.
    5. There’s a vast difference between what is said, what is understood, what is done, and what happens: These have to be understood explicitly and investors must always be pragmatic

       
  5. Top 5 advice you would give to startup founder

    Ans:
    1. Don’t start the idea if you aren’t in love with it and want to be with it day in and out: There is no backing out after you’ve decided that working in a startup is something you’d want to do. It takes passion, patience, and perseverance; so it helps tremendously if you’re in love with your cause.
    2. Don’t fall for trends: For investors and founders alike, falling for trends blindly is a death sentence.
    3. Be true to yourself: In order to get investors on board, don’t lose track of what you actually set out to do.
    4. Ask for advice if you want money and ask for money if you want advice: I tell this to every founder I come across, and I’ve probably said it more times than I can count. But it is still my favorite advice to give out because it works like a charm everytime!
    5. Research your investors as much as you’re researching about your customers: It reflects better on you as a founder if you’ve done your due research on your potential investors.

       
  6. How do you support your portfolio companies

    Ans: 

    We offer our support to our portfolio companies in various areas since we believe in being more resourceful than just providing capital or network. We focus on building a founder-investor relationship since day one, rather than an investee-investor relationship.  This helps since the founding team can always count on us for whatever roadblocks they’re facing whether it be in finance, strategy, technology, or even in human resources. 
     

  7. Books or Blogs you would like to recommend entrepreneurs

    Ans:

    Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is my all-time favorite book that I’d recommend not only to entrepreneurs but literally everyone! I even recommend Dr. Robert Cialdini books to develop soft skills that can transform you as an individual and even as an entrepreneur. https://fs.blog/ is a great place to learn about mental models that I think everyone can use to seek more clarity in their personal and professional life.

About Rohit: 

Having been an entrepreneur himself in the past, Rohit has garnered over a decade of experience and valuable insights into the VC eco-system and nurturing the driven entrepreneurial spirit. He's always on the lookout to learn more about the 'next big thing' and helping founders chase after their dreams with Windrose Capital.  

He has partnered and set-up companies in & outside India, with people from China, Sri Lanka, UK & Germany. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Engineering & Masters in Management from CASS Business School, City University, London.

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