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Oct 19, 2022
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Don’t Confuse Lack of Growth Today with Lack of Potential Tomorrow.

-Anjani Bansal, Partner and India Country Head, Global Brain VC Fund

Team 100X interviewed some of the top investors across the globe about their venture investing journeys, startups, and India. Here, Anjani Bansal, Partner & India Head Global Brain VC Fund shares his responses.

Q1. What is your motivation to be in the venture investing business

Engage and partner with people and ideas that will shape our collective future; Constantly build-test-modify theses on evolution of multiple sectors; Opportunity to channel capital towards its most productive use cases; Learn something new every day

Q2. Describe your workday and leisure day, how does it look like 

(work) Engage with portfolio companies on specific areas of support, Meet new companies and explore potential investment opportunities, Due diligence and IC on investments in progress, Meet industry operators in specific sectors where we are considering new investments; (leisure) tennis, read, and sometimes watch a movie

Q3. What is your view on the future of India as a market

India presents an outsized growth opportunity by creating prosperity for hundreds of millions of people. However, its not going to be automatic. Several exogenous and endogenous variables will influence that outcome. As an investor there is no better place in the world to be right now.

Q4. Help describe your investment thesis and ideas you would like to back

The precise thesis varies based on the problem being solved depending on our experience of investing in companies over the years and across the globe. However, there are certain characteristics that are common among companies that I like to back: 1) strong understanding and vision of the market and existing participants 2) ideas that generate outcomes that are exponentially better than whats possible today 3) team that has demonstrated execution capability and has set clear metrics 4) self awareness to recognize and openly discuss failures 5) zero time for cockiness and bravado

Q5. What are your 5 key learnings from your experience as a venture investor

  1. Don't confuse lack of growth today with lack of potential tomorrow - sometimes companies stay small for an unusually extended period while they refine their model. The subsequent growth curve could be steep. This is also true for deeptech
  2. Whistle does not drive the train - back communication with tangible actions and metrics

  3. Don't put cart before the horse - set clear and achievable priorities and execute
  4. Don't underestimate the complexity and cost of expansion to new countries
  5. Be clear and specific about what I can do as an investor to support the founders

Q6. Mention top 5 consumer/industry/technology trends in India and globally

  1. Digital transactions by lower income segments as access to broadband internet increases and demand grows for use cases beyond entertainment and communication
  2. Technologies that stop and/or reverse climate change
  3. Agricultural modernization
  4. Personalized and efficient healthcare delivery
  5. Financial and wealth management for millennials and gen z  

Q7. Top 5 advice you would give to startup founder

  1. Pay attention to people that disagree with your vision of the market
  2. Avoid valuation trap
  3. One high performer will contribute more than five average performers - invest your time in hiring the right talent early

  4. Stay humble
  5. Its going to be a long and tough journey - invest in your physical and mental health, don't get burnt out, and stay cheerful

Q8. How do you support your portfolio companies

Industry partnerships incl. synergies within our portfolio of over 300 companies across the globe; Hiring across functions; Global expansion

Q9. Which of your portfolio company you are very excited about and why

Far too many to list here; Overall I am super excited for startups solving real problems in large markets of tier II and III India, and climate tech that can be commercialized and scaled globally.

Q10. When you started your career what were your ambitions

Just Survive - I was way out of my depth developing financial software for commercial banks and derivatives trading in New York. Burnt inordinate amount of midnight oil to get on top of both business and technology.

Q11. What inspires you in life and what keeps you awake at night

Make a meaningful contribution to improve lives of people and advance our species by supporting the entrepreneurs who are essentially putting the most at stake; I absolutely cherish a good night's sleep and try to not let anything interfere with it.

Q12. Books or Blogs you would recommend entrepreneurs

I think entrepreneurs do well with a perspective wider than just business. Some recommendations here cover history, present and future. The Most Powerful Idea in the World - William Rosen, Leonardo Da Vinci - Walter Isaacson, No Rules Rules - Reed Hastings, Bharat: India 2.0 - Gautam Desiraju, String Theory - David Foster Wallace

About Anjani :

Anjani is the Country Head for Global Brain VC Fund in Japan and responsible for building its investment portfolio in India and Bangladesh across all sectors. Climate tech is also an important priority with a global mandate. He has multidisciplinary experience in emerging market investments, software development, and policy and regulations in India and Africa. He has developed technology for derivatives trading, commercial banking and AML for large financial institutions. He led private sector investments for the Gates Foundation and held multiple leadership roles working across India and Africa. He also founded and managed an angel investment fund. He has invested in sectors such as Climate Tech, IoT, Robotics, Alternate Proteins, Agritech, Fintech, Social Networks and E-commerce. 

 

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