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Dec 05, 2022
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Investing is a thrill profession and the ability to help founders is what excites me

-Bhavish Sood, General Partner, Modulor Capital

Team 100X interviewed some of the top investors across the globe about their venture investing journeys, startups, and India. Here, Bhavish Sood, General Partner at Modulor Capital shares his responses.

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

I got exposed to top tier funds during my roadshows with Gartner Invest. I admired the wall street and private market fund managers for their understanding of macro, technology and business  during these visits across the financial capitals of the world. This motivated me to leave consulting and advisory and move to investing. 

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

A typical workday starts early, I am usually up by 5 am and mornings are reserved for hobbies : yoga and classical Indian singing. Work day typically starts at 9 am with responding to emails and slack messages. The big 3 blocks of day allocation are : listening to pitches , portfolio management and reading on trends across a range of sectors.

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

We remain bullish on the Indian market as well as startups that are focussed on selling on the Indian market. India needs to improve the ease of doing business if it aims to transform itself as a global economic giant and this area still needs a lot of help. Its evident from government policies that startups are being recognised for their ability to deliver growth and jobs.  

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

At a broad level we invest in enterprise software and have some allocations to solving uniquely Indian problems which is also called "solving for bharat" across edtech, fintech and health-tech. In software our investing themes are Applied AI given the amount of data being available , Process Automation given the paucity of manpower across a range of sectors and Commerce Tools given the growth of e-commerce and omni channel retail.     

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

  1. It takes years to build something as a substantial business, up rounds are not an indication of success. At max they prove that the startup will not die due to the lack of capital 
  2. At pre seed and seed the founding team and TAM are two major criteria's while evaluating a investment. 
  3. Be professional in your dealings with the founders as over friendliness can harm long term VC interests especially when critical advice has to be dispensed. 
  4. You cannot scale GTM of bad products 
  5. Under capitalisation is much worse than not raising at all. 

Q6.Top 5 advice you would give to startup founder

  • Don't raise capital and dilute unless needed but maintain the runway 
  • More capital does not solve PMF challenges in-fact it will only aggravate the situation 
  • Curtail the amount of advisory equity and vest it on milestones 
  • Avoid raising via investment banks and angel networks  that demand sweat equity 
  • Bring cofounders in areas where you are weak and need help to scale 

Q7. How do you support your portfolio companies

Our mainstay is a growth program called Quagrow where we give dedicated support around Growth and GTM.  We also offer M&A /Fund Raising advice via Yugo Capital an investment bank thats part of our Network and have Venture Partners in areas of Legal via Sequitur, Sales via SalesZee, and Product management via the Prodzen program. 

Q8. Which of your portfolio company you are very excited about and why

All, mother has no favourite children

Q9. When you started your career what were your ambitions/ What inspires you in life and what keeps you awake at night

Like everyone else aim was to reach the top of the corporate life but then reality strikes and one realises family time, happiness and health are more important. Money should not mean material possessions but allow the flexibility of doing what one loves. 

Investing is a thrill profession and the ability to help founders (sometimes also keep your self out of way as they build enduring companies) is what excites me 

Q10. Books or Blogs you would recommend entrepreneurs

Books : 

  1. The Innovation Blindspot Ross Baird 
  2. Competing Against Luck: Story of Innovation and Customer Choice Clayton M Christensen 
  3. Crossing the Chasm: Geoffrey A Moore 
  4. Leader: 50 Insights from Mythology Devdutt Pattanaik 

Blogs 

  1. Future by A16Z
  2. First Round Capital Blog 
  3. Andrew Chen 
  4. https://stratechery.com
  5. every.to

Doing pre seed investments in India is not easy and 100X is the probably the only fund investing at idea stage. At Modulor we admire the quality of the 100X.VC team and their ability to source, invest and do portfolio management.  Our fund has given 3 term sheets to 100X cohort but always lost and we hope to reverse this trend. 

 

About Bhavish : 

Bhavish has 20+ years of experience spanning research, consulting, and venture capital. He started with Virtusa and Gartner, where he formed his roots in understanding businesses in depth. He then moved into fund management with 3737 North Capital. Bhavish is an alumnus of I.I.M. Bangalore. He currently sits on half a dozen boards of investee companies and heads Venture Investing at Modulor Capital.


 

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