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May 12, 2023
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The reason why India is poised for success is due to its significant Gen Z population. With over 600 million Indians under the age of 28, this demographic provides a wealth of potential.

-Anuj Mehta, India Investments Lead at Rise Capital.

Team 100X interviewed some of the top investors across the globe about their venture investing journeys, startups, and India.Here,Anuj Mehta, India Investments Lead at Rise Capitalshares his responses. 

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

For any discerning venture capitalist, the top-quartile realized metrics such as TVPI, DPI, and net IRR are of paramount importance. However, for me, the most fulfilling aspect of my work lies in the dynamic and stimulating environment of constant entrepreneurial innovation and creativity. It is a place where one never ceases to learn and grow, with a perpetual sense of curiosity that motivates us to engage with highly intelligent, ambitious, and inspirational colleagues. The infectious energy of the optimistic entrepreneurs keeps me going and fuels my passion for this vibrant ecosystem of relentless creativity and innovation. Being part of such a stimulating environment is truly a rewarding experience.

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

My workday involves a range of activities, including meetings, calls, emails, and extensive reading. However, the days that I cherish the most are the ones when I am physically present at a site, conducting diligence visits, or participating in ecosystem events where I can connect and engage with fellow entrepreneurs and investors. These opportunities to interact with like-minded individuals, share insights, and build relationships are invaluable to me, and I relish the chance to learn and grow alongside my peers. It is the moments of human connection and collaboration that make it all worthwhile.

When I'm not in the grind, you might catch me hitting the open road for a spontaneous road trip, trekking through nature on a hike, or exploring the culinary scene by checking out new restaurants and cafes. And if I'm feeling particularly lazy, you can find me on a couch binging on the latest Netflix craze, while indulging in a chocolate dessert.

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

Here is why it is India's decade!

The reason why India is poised for success is due to its significant Gen Z population. With over 600 million Indians under the age of 28, this demographic provides a wealth of potential.

India has one of the best technical talent pools globally, thanks to its universities that produce top-notch technical professionals.

There is a shift in the trend of Indian brain drain. Founders are opting to remain in India or return to their home country to build their businesses.

With JIO's rise, internet usage in India has significantly increased, and more than 932 million people are now online. Despite this, only 7% of Indians participate in e-commerce.

Indian startups have raised over $130 billion in global capital from 2014 to 2022, which has bolstered the country's economy.

As India's economy continues to grow, the country's burgeoning middle class presents a massive opportunity for companies to tap into the expanding consumer market.

Rapid urbanization and the growth of the middle class are driving demand for new technologies and services in India.

The Indian government has been actively supporting the tech industry, promoting it through various initiatives.

With over 100 unicorns, India has developed a network effect that drives innovation.

Indian founders are scrappy and determined, with global ambitions. They have a technical aptitude that drives them forward.

In just six years, India's tech startups have experienced a 10-fold increase in valuation, with a cumulative value of around $200 billion. A decade ago, this value was negligible. In contrast to the US and China, where startups contribute to 30-42% and 20% of the GDP, respectively, startups in India account for only 5.7% of the GDP.

Furthermore, India's GDP, which has accumulated $3.5 trillion over its history, is expected to grow by that same amount in the next 5-7 years. The digital economy is predicted to contribute significantly to this growth, generating over 5 million jobs. Although India has come a long way, there is still a lot of room for further development.

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

Our investment thesis centers around our strong attraction to emerging economies. With emerging markets comprising over half of the world's population, internet users, GDP creation, and an ever-increasing number of unicorn startups, the potential for growth in these regions is simply too significant to ignore. As technology continues to penetrate every aspect of our lives, we believe that the majority of the world's market cap in the future will be driven by startups emerging from these markets. Unfortunately, the reality is that emerging markets currently receive < 15% of the world's venture capital, highlighting a significant misallocation of investment dollars. Our focus is on bridging this gap and investing in the future potential of these markets to drive global innovation and growth.

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

  • Focus on the Future

  • Always come Prepared

  • Learn & Unlearn

  • Empathy towards Others

  • Being Bold, but yet Humble

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

  • Climate Tech

  • Generative AI

  • Creator Economy

  • eSports & Mobile Gaming

  • Global SaaS

  1. Top 5 advice you would give to startup founder.

Focus on solving a real problem: Successful startups solve a real problem or fill a gap in the market. Make sure your product or service addresses a genuine need or pain point for your customers.

Keep it simple: Don't overcomplicate your product or service. Keep it simple, easy to use, and user-friendly. A complicated product is difficult to sell and harder to scale.

Test and iterate: Don't be afraid to test your product with real customers and get their feedback. Use this feedback to improve your product and iterate until you have a solution that resonates with your customers.

Build a strong team: Your team is the backbone of your startup. Hire people who are skilled, passionate, and share your vision. Surround yourself with people who will challenge you and help you grow.

Be resilient: Starting a business is not easy, and there will be setbacks along the way. Be prepared to weather the ups and downs and stay focused on your long-term goals. Learn from your failures, pivot when necessary, and never give up on your dream.

  1. How do you support your portfolio companies?

By assisting in GTM expansion across emerging markets. We have a global portfolio and network of advisors in almost every emerging market. We are fortunate to get to speak to founders globally. We learn from trends and what we see in an ecocystem and apply that in another ecosystem.

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

It would be unfair to take a names. I'm equally excited for all. Personally, I love StockGro - India's first and largest 'social investment' platform aimed at helping everyone master the art of 'trading & investment'. On StockGro, traders and investors learn how to pick the right stocks using virtual money by participating in experiential learning programs. By incentivising trading and investing, StockGro is doing something which was lagging in the Indian markets for quite some time, getting more investors to invest in equities.

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

Adventure & Nature, Fitness & Working Out, and Food inspires me in life. I try to get a goodnight's sleep.

  1. Books or Blogs you would like to recommend entrepreneurs.

"The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries

"Zero to One" by Peter Thiel

"The Hard Thing About Hard Things" by Ben Horowitz

"The Almanack of Naval Ravikant" by Naval Ravikant


 

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