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Dec 28, 2022
Topic
Disruption through Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)
  • Mohit Gulati, Managing General Partner, ITI Growth Opportunities Fund

 

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

I think we have a structural challenge given the young demographics of our country, where 65% of our population is below the age of 35 and I've sort of done an entire breakdown of who have been the large scale employment generators over the last two decades. Our inherent demand for new opportunities is almost close to four and half to five million of white collared and subsequently blue collared will be a lot more. So, I think the prime aim was to build at least 100 large employment generation businesses. And that really has been the core thesis on my venture investing journey. 

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

It's actually pretty much similar when you start enjoying the work. I think even workdays are like leisure days and even on leisure days, you're working. If you start really enjoying what you do on a daily basis then the fine line between a leisure day and a work day disappears. 

Q 3. What is your view on the future of India as a market

I think by nature of being in the VC space, all of us are perpetual bulls. If our macro indicators stay strong and geopolitically we don't have any issues, we should hit the 5 trillion mark by 2030, which essentially means everything that you see around yourself will go up ten times. Although, I am a little cautious with regards to the socio-economic health of the country, the middle and the bottom layer of India still continues to sort of face a lot of key challenges. We need to find a way to bring them up by strengthening our manufacturing sector and initiatives to up-skill them and bring them into the mainstream.

Q 4. Help describe your investment thesis and ideas you would like to back

From a funds perspective, we've broadly sector agnostic strategy. I think as times evolve and things change, it's hard to peg yourself down to one sector. Over the last five to six years, we've been evaluating a bunch of  interesting sectors. We were early investors in the EV space via Bolt which is now the largest charging infrastructure in the EV space. Then we did Redwing Labs which was in drone space. We have also selectively invested in D2C companies. 

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

So, the first key learning is to get your people right; both from your own team as well as in the teams that you're investing in. The second key learning is to learn to be a little more patient. This has rewarded us most as a fund. We've not really pushed them or nudged them more than what is required. The third one is maintaining good and cordial relations with the start-up founders. When you do that, then they look out for you a lot more than you will have to look out for yourself. The fourth one is to hire people who are smarter than you. Whether it's your own team as a venture fund or whether it's teams you're building around yourself. When you hire people who are smarter than you, it automatically makes everyone play their A game. I think the fifth one is to not be too greedy.

Q 6. Mention top 5 consumer/industry/technology trends in India and globally

One of the key trends is going to be a complete disruption in what India is doing with the Central Bank Digital Currency(CBDC). It is tokenizing and digitizing the Indian rupee with complete end to end insurance around every rupee.This could be a massive game changer for India over the next ten years. The other could be Web 3.0. I think the applications around Web 3.0 are pretty interesting. Coming to a more India Specific trend, there will be a lot more innovation around connected tech, healthcare and blockchain. 

Q 7. Top advice you would give to startup founder

I think the biggest advice is to know when to raise money and deliver on the said promise of raising money. Second, again, I'm sort of repeating myself, learn to hire good and smart people in the team.

Q 8. How do you support your portfolio companies

It is really hard to quantify this, because if you've built portfolios as if they are your own companies, then you essentially want to be almost like a co-founder in every way possible. Although, we do this by maintaining a lot of faith in our founders’. We step in at the right time and open immense opportunities for our start-ups. For Eg: We opened doors for Bolt with the Government and now they are building charging infrastructure hand in hand with them.

Q 9. What inspires you in life and what keeps you awake at night

On a positive note, there are so many things. By virtue of working in a country like India, everything is so inspirational. There are so many problems that are still unsolved. And that is, I think, really what keeps me up all night.

Q 10. If you have interacted with 100X.VC, please share a few good words about us. 

I've known Sanjay for a while. I have very high regard for him. I think 100X has a very interesting model of investing, which is very unlike most of us. 


About Mohit

Mohit Gulati is the CIO & Managing Partner of the AIF Cat-2 vehicle called ITI Growth Opportunities(ITIGO) Fund which specialises in early-stage venture investing. He's a passionate engineer from Pune University and has a PGDM in Finance from IIT Bombay. Mohit has 13+ yrs of operational experience within the Fund Management space. In his individual capacity, he has led first-round deals across ECOM Express(Series D), Grab(RIL Acquired), WigzoTech(Shiprocket acquired), HumourMe, and two dozen early-stage ventures. Within the ITI(Investment Trust of India) Group of 21 businesses, the technology fund under Mohit specializes in investments in Health Tech, New Age FMCG Brands, SaaS, IoT, Drone Tech and New Age mobility/Logistics. Mohit is also a featured 'investor panellist' on the popular TV series 'Horses Stable' aired on the India Today Network. ITIGO Fund 1 currently has 18 active investments and is in the midst of getting regulatory approvals for a subsequent second fund. 

Social links: https://linktr.ee/mohitgulati



 

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