In the last 10 years, ah! Ventures has raised investments of over INR 204 crore ($29 million) for close to 55 startups in India.
One of India’s early stage funding ecosystem, ah! Ventures is associated with over 5000 investors (angels, early stage VCs and Institutional investors) to support over 70000 entrepreneurs on its platform.
Manish Joshi from NewsBarons connects with Harsh Deodhar, Head- Investor Relations & Strategic Alliances at ah! Ventures, who informs ‘We have started 2021 with a bang, as of March 2021, we have completed 6 investments and announcing 1 exit very soon’.
NB: What is your outlook for 2021. Do you see considerable growth in funding opportunities for Indian startups in 2021.
Harsh: Indian start-up ecosystem is poised for substantial growth not only in terms of number of start-ups but also the ecosystem as a whole. With stronger government reforms, funding partners, support systems, entrepreneurship has become a strong career option for the youth. This has made India a great destination for institutional investors. We strongly believe, pertaining to Angel Investing, we have just scratched the surface, massive untapped market of prospective angel investor is due its course.
NB: Which segment/s you believe have exponential potential in 2021.
Harsh: We strongly believe, the below 3 industries are on the brink of massive over haul:
1. Business Support Services: Majority of the businesses have changed their operations for good post COVID, this has given a lot of scope for business execution or business support service may it be tech or non tech.
2. Health Tech: Overall awareness across countries for health, hygiene, sociology has gone up drastically, this has ensured markets related to health, hospitals, awareness, check-up’s, have a new perspective.
3. AI & ML: We believe 2021 is going to be year of data driven business decisions across markets. With AI & ML expertise growing each year, start-ups working in this space are bound to grow.
NB: What do you believe is the biggest dissonance in Indian start up industry.
Harsh: We evaluate more than 400 Start-ups every month. We are extremely proud of our curation process, which has helped our Investors in making the right decisions. During our curation process, we come across a lot of start-ups working on problems which actually is not a grave problem for the market they are targeting, hence losing out on perceived value. The 2nd issue which we think is, start-ups getting into crowded market, develop one additional feature to an existing model and then projects to be acquired- this creates a massive gap in reality and thus leading to dissonance.
NB: What are your plans for 2021.
Harsh: We have always focused on curation which has helped gain confidence of our investors. Out of 55 Start-ups we have helped raise funds, only 8 have shut operations, this endorses our curation mastery.
Since 2021, we have segmented our Start-up registration based on their stage:
● First Gear Platform Fund Raising Process (Upto $150K fund raise): Process is more or less the same as Angel Platform. (Minimum investment per investor on this platform is INR 2.5 Lacs ~ $3500)
● Angel Platform Fund Raising Process (Upto $1 million fund raise)
(Minimum investment per investor on this platform is INR 5 Lacs ~ $7500)
● High Tables Platform Fund Raising Process ($1-10 million fund raise)
(Minimum investment per investor on this platform is INR 50 Lacs ~ $75000)
● Closed Door – These mandates are also of $1-10 million fund raise but are shared with investors over call or in a meeting by our senior partners first and are not showcased in either angel or high tables platforms.
We have started 2021 with a bang, as of March 2021, we have completed 6 investments and announcing 1 exit very soon.
We intend to do 50+ deals for 2021, thanks to our robust Venture Partner program. We are the only platform in India to have 21+ Venture Partners across 15 locations in India & UK, our Venture Partners come from Academic, Tech, Consulting, Mentoring, Investment Banking, Chartered Accountancy background helping us in Curating Start-ups, Mentoring Start-ups and Deal closing
NB: Your advice to startups looking for funding opportunities.
Harsh: ah! Ventures has always worked with a philosophy- “Committed founders solving universal problems at scale”
We recommend start-ups:
1. If you believe you have a great business idea, validate this belief with regular paying customers.
2. Find ways to reach from 100 to 1 Lak customer quickly.
3. Don’t be hypnotised by single most idea, always be flexible to pivot ideas for better revenues.
4. Fund raising is for scale, growth and business enhancement, never do the mistake of consider funding as a stepping stone for revenue.