Episode 152 / January 17, 2022
10 years, 100+ investments, 8 exits: Journey of Abhishek Rungta
When you hear the word Startups & Angel Investing, which cities do you most commonly think they are based out of? Bengaluru, Delhi / Gurugram, Mumbai, or Chennai.
The guest of our today’s episode, Abhishek Rungta clearly breaks this stereotype.
Back in 1997, when he was still in his graduation, he had two options post college – – Join his father’s family business in Jute Trading – Start something totally unexpected And that’s exactly what he did, he founded Indus Net Technologies from Kolkata, completely bootstrapped, which today has 200+ active clients across Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Retail, Publishing, Media, Government, Healthcare and Entertainment sectors in five continents.
Today his company has an ARR of $11Mn, and offers services in verticals such as: – Integrated Digital Marketing Services – Cloud Application Development (CMS, CRM, E-Commerce, ODC, OPD) – Enterprise Mobility In parallel to this, he also started as an Angel Investor and later as an LP.
During the episode, Abhishek talks about the crux of his journey as an investor, his learnings along the way, what mindset he currently carries as an investor, and much more.
01:07 – Family Business Background – Jute Trading
03:48 – Acquiring a global client base from Kolkata
06:50 – His journey in Angel Investing
12:13 – Valley of despair in investing
15:14 – Thesis: Investing in 2nd time founders
22:05 – Diversifying your investments
33:01 – Learnings to intake as an LP
35:11 – Investors’ whose thesis he looks up to
Read the full transcript here:
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:00
Hi, this is Siddhartha Ahluwalia. Welcome to the 100x entrepreneur Podcast. Today I have with me Abhishek Rungta, founder of Indus Net, and founder of Seeders, a micro VC fund. Abhishek, welcome to the 100x entrepreneur podcast. Glad to have you.
Abhishek Rungta 00:17
Thank you, Siddharth, thanks for having me here.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:20
We should like to start with your entrepreneurial journey, how do you became an entrepreneur? Right? And, you know, tell us something about your family, was it always into business and you come from Kolkata, which is very different from the usual startup cities of India, so would love to know about you growing up
Abhishek Rungta 00:43
So I come from a business family, so my father has been into jute trading, and we work with jute mills. But again, when I got into my college days itself, I got introduced to Internet. And within a few months, I realised that this is where my destiny lies, because I found the opportunity to be immense, when you think about connected people, and, connected servers connected data, I think that somehow kind of gave me that feeling that this is the area where I want to be, and I kind of took the plunge and started the indus net as a business. And, obviously, there has been the usual ups and downs of every entrepreneur that have gone through. And it was completely bootstrapped. You know, starting from one client and reinvesting that money to build a company over and over again, over the years. And that is where, we stand today. So starting from almost negligible amount of cash, we built a company which currently does around 11 million US dollars in revenue, and, very decent healthy profit margins. So it’s a bootstrapped profitable business that we have built. And the business today, again, it has gone through multiple cycles. As you know, in technology, businesses don’t remain the same over a period of time. So it has gone through three, four different cycles altogether. Not taking you through all that. But today, we stand as a, as an integrated product engineering company, for banks, insurance, and pharma companies.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 02:22
And it’s been almost 24 years since you have been building indus net?
Abhishek Rungta 02:27
Yeah, it’s 24 years of work. Yes. And again, Calcutta, as you rightly said, is a very different market. It’s a tough market to build a technology company to be honest, and more so, a global technology company. So it has taken its own time, and I have not rushed through it. Of course, the biggest challenge that we find in building the company in Kolkata is the lack of exposure and the lack of talent. So that has definitely, kind of slowed us down. But it has not bog us down to the for it, it’s a continuous journey. And I have also started kind of working with other entrepreneurs in the city to build more companies. So six years back, I also acquired a company partnered with the founder, and kind of started building another company called Techshoe. I also did a joint venture, and worked as a co founder and another startup, which is into data analytics and predictive maintenance. So I have been through building these multiple companies, because I feel that the challenge of the city is, of course, as I said, exposure and availability of talent. And I think I am able to, I’m able to solve that, to some extent, I would not say, a big extent, but whatever I can do, I’m trying my best.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 03:48
And how did you go about acquiring a global client base? Right, and if you can share distribution of your clients across geographies indus net?
Abhishek Rungta 04:00
So, it was in 2001, obviously, just after dotcom bust, the market was really bad. And if you are into technology, or people would actually look down upon you to be very honest at that time. And that was the time when I started actually, scaling my game, after my masters in 2000. And in 2001, I started scaling up, and it was very difficult time, I would go and visit clients and, do my pitches, but nobody is ready to sign up. And my turnover was like, as low as 5000 rupees a month at one point in time, and very frustrated. And then one day I kind of just walking towards my office, I remembered that, I did a small gig when I was in college, and that gig came from a person who was on one of the discussion forums, online discussion forums, and I said, if I could have got that deal of 200 pound suit many, so many years back, I mean almost like 2000 or 1999, things must have come a long way from that sense now. And this is a great time for me to kind of look at a global market. Because if people are not interested in using technology in India, in Kolkata. At that time, I’m sure that the world is not the same. And I started looking outside, went online. And you know, I get into these kinds of kind of Scrubs, like, so I get into the sprint, I would say, you know, for three, four days, so I was like, on internet for three, four days searching how you can generate business online. Today, you call it digital marketing, but I learned it all in those three, four, you know, deeper days, I would say. And I started getting business, and generating business, doing it, generating reputation generating references, so everything that you kind of combine and call top digital marketing, I did in around 2001. And at one point of time, after doing this, I was generating around 35 Web Design deals a day. And it was like, you know, crazy. And that gave us the initial impetus and cash flow to build the business.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 06:10
And you started indus while you were in college. Right? You mentioned that 2001, you came out of your masters?
Abhishek Rungta 06:19
That’s right. So I started when I was in my bachelor degree. So I was in second year, when I started in 97. I started indus net, to be honest at that time, it was more of a hobby, but then eventually kind of discovered that, it’s much more than a hobby. And this is where I want to build my career. And by the time I did my masters and came out by 2002 beginning, I think I was pretty sure that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 06:44
And how did your journey got started into angel investing? Who introduced you to Angel investing? And in which year?
Abhishek Rungta 06:52
Okay, so it’s a very interesting story. So 2010, Pallav was a very close friend, like a brother to me. He came to Calcutta, he just recently shifted to Bangalore. And he came to Kolkata. And he said, I have been introduced to this beautiful world of angel investing, would you like to consider it it discovered this? And I said, why not. And, you know, we sat together, I tried to understand what it is all about. And I think within our sitting in a cafe, in near our office, we decided that we are doing it. And right in the cafe itself, we crowdsource the name for the business also. And we kind of started calling it seeders from that day. And after that, obviously, we will again introduce more into all this because Pallav was already in Bangalore, so he knew a lot of people. But then I came to Bangalore to, I think this was first or second demo day of Morpheus gang, and Sameer Guglani, very dear friend, and I think an amazing human being. He walked me through and he explained what it’s all about, how it works. And I was like totally hooked to it. And the demo day was like a totally different experience. For me, I learned a lot. And I said, I think this is something I would love to do.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 08:11
And then can you share about your the first five companies that you invested in?
Abhishek Rungta 08:18
Okay, so yeah, so first five companies. So, you know, once we kind of started seeing that, we are interested in investing in early stage companies, we started doing a lot of pitches, and we started meeting people. So, the first five, which is most of the company, purely an idea stage, in fact, all the five companies, I think were an idea stage, they have not done much before we invested in them, I think, back in 2010-11, you know, you would invest in idea stage companies, if you like the founder, and we did some of them one was called a adora, which was on the education sector and tech sector, I think they were quite ahead of its time, we did invest in a very small checque. And I was like, absolutely shocked by the resilience of the founder Nagarajan. And he was like he carried that money, a very small cheque of 10 lakhs, he kind of carried it for years and years and years. Like, and, I was like, how can someone really, extend that kind of a small cheque for years. And he did all his work when he gave his all right, but obviously, it was not a great success. Another very big interesting deal we did was at that time was cropin. They used to call themself cropX, I think this was the second or third deal we did. And, I still remember that we did the deal at Pallav’s house almost like midnight. And, this guy comes and we kept discussing and we finally said, Okay, let’s do it. Again, very early stage. And we were talking about using tabs and, using IoT at that time, how you use tabs to kind of collect data help them provide better quality, the yield, and we were hooked on to it, we did in the state. And of course, cropping became huge. And it is still doing great. And I love seeing both the founders, Krishna and his you know they are doing still they are going, you know, with all their energy, they are building the company, I recently kind of exited that one year back, but, but I mean, I’m always tracking them and always cheering up for them. We also did a deal. So allow these, this was a good one, this was possibly one of the top ones. But at the same time, we were also thinking about, you know, can we invest in the company and see about dividend yield? And that was our that was the biggest mistake we did. We invested in a company where we thought we will get some dividend yield. And you make and you learn through those mistakes. And we figured out that it doesn’t work in this industry. And we said that. So since then we are kind of absolutely strict no, no to any deal of that sort. So that was one. We also invested in a car tech company, of course, we see that the car tech has arrived now. But I think that company was also a little ahead of its time, so could not sustain the momentum till the time Kartik becomes mainstream. So. So fundamentally, what I found that, you know, we made a lot of mistakes, we were very, very eager to write checks. And we did a lot of investment at that time. But I think God has been kind and also I think some of the some of the feature visualisation that we did at that time, played out in our favour. And we got some great exits also. So over and over all, like, you know, I think it went great for us.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:45
And can you share it how many companies you have invested till now in total?
Abhishek Rungta 11:50
Okay, so it’s many companies. So that was the first phase of investing that we did, you know, in which most of the companies may and pull away together, like, literally like a small fund, and we did around 20 odd companies in a short period of two to three years, then I found that, y, it’s getting a little boring, because, you know, there is no action. And I call it very interestingly, I call it a valley of despair, right? So once you invest in a company, and the company would take 10 years to build, right. And the interesting thing is that the successful companies will only give shoe starts showing results after five to seven years, but the companies which are not going to survive will start dying in two to three years. Right? So from this three year to the seven year period, I call it a valley of despair, right? You start feeling here, what am I doing, and especially when you don’t have a lot of precedents, and you don’t have a lot of people who are experienced in telling you how this angel investing industry works, you know, it becomes even more difficult. And so I said here, la Tikka invested, but this may be 20k a year. So I reduced my investments, I did not shut it off, I was doing them one to two deals a year. And I started seeing that, you know, he let me invest in the best company that comes to win that year. And another interesting thing that we learned in that period is that, you know, if you start deploying your capital too quickly, then you kind of get into this valley of despair much, much faster. And that was also very interesting learning. And there were a lot of deals that came to us after 2012 13 that we actually left. And since I left those deals, you know, I still kind of say that my anti portfolio can kind of, you know, make me a billionaire, definitely bilinear for sure. But that anti portfolio kind of kept growing, because I kind of came out of the market. So I deployed the capital and came out of the market. Because I was deploying capital very fast. I was writing big checks. So my cheque size would be 2540 lakhs like you know, and just, and those will be an idea stage company so you can understand. So yeah, so that was a very interesting learning in that period. Then in 2018 19, I kind of again, started picking up because, you know, my company was very well settled, I was having a lot of time, I would say I was having almost like four hours a day available to me to invest and do these different things. And I started investing again, I discovered the US network for investing. And that was absolutely fascinating. That took me to a totally different plane altogether. And I started interacting with founders there. And I also discovered, you know, the syndicate lead concept, where people were kind of leading investments, I started building relationships with this lead investors, I kind of invested almost like 70 Odd companies in a very short period of one one and a half year from them. Some of them may direct some of them through other leads. And but again, for every deal, I had my own personal investment thesis, I would kind of write down my pointers. I would not write a long letter, but I would write down pointers. And my way to look at those deals were like, you know, if I have to paint the future 10 year hence, like what kind of businesses would be key in running that future in will be played a key role in that future and that kind of was the guiding principle for me in looking at the right sector, and then looking at founders who have, you know, at least build one company past, which I know is very similar to your pieces as well. And that has worked out well. And in so in 2021, I started my syndicate also with my, for my friends, aka Suresh, Paula Parthiv. And it has not done well we have done around 10 deals since in total, if I see I have done more than 100 deals. And since the beginning,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 15:35
and how many exits would you have taken till now in those companies in those 100 plus companies?
Abhishek Rungta 15:42
I think a majority of this 100 Plus deals that I have done has happened in recent times, but the around 30 odd deals that happen between 2010 to 2017-18. That was around 28 or deals out of which I have got honourable great exits in around four of them. I have got honourable exit and around another four of them.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 16:06
So eight and how do you define you know, what’s your exit like a 10x plus is honourable exit or less than 10 extra
Abhishek Rungta 16:15
minutes is a star exit for me. Anything above 50x is a superstar exit for me. So I’ve got I’ve got one superstar exit I’ve got three star exits, remaining four are more of you know, optics m&a that you have to do if the company’s not doing great, but at times you get some money but times you don’t get anything. Yeah. I think
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 16:35
cropping as you mentioned, right has been your biggest star exit, right? So as an angel, would it have made sense to like continue? Or how do you decide when to exit? Because a very difficult situation, right? Because this 70x 2x multiplier on the valuation would become 140 X?
Abhishek Rungta 16:55
Yes, absolutely. So it is a difficult decision. And I had to take this decision because I wanted to complete the cycle. Siddharth because it is very important, you know, whichever business you are in, unless you complete the cycle, you don’t understand how this whole thing works. And you can’t get the impetus to go to the next level. So I kind of did this exit not because I do not have faith in a crop in for the next phase. As I said, I still track them and I still kind of you know, cheer them from the sidelines. But I think it was very important for me to complete the cycle. And you know, so you start investing, you keep watching the company, you see how it grows, and it comes to a point where you can exit. So I think that was very important for me. And it happened. And yeah, so that is the primary reason I exited.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 17:41
And, you know, it started with you and Paula and then you expanded your, you know, partners. So how did you decide on who to bring on as partners and in cedars? Because today’s a five member partnership.
Abhishek Rungta 17:54
Yeah. So again, I think for me, it is very important that you know, I can be very comfortable with the people I bring on as partners, you know, I am only to bring, it evolves, I think, right? So I introduced Suresh to, you know, to this world. Some time, long time back when Let’s venture was raising its round. And I was investing and Let’s venture and Satish came along with me over a period of time. LKG also wanted to invest, he bought back his equity from the P firm, you know, who had invested in their company, so he understands the space from the other side of the table. But obviously, it’s a very astute and very, very sharp guy. I mean, one of the friend whom we would always go to take advice about our own business. So I said, you know, if someone can be advising me and a lot of other people, I’m sure they can, he can advise and help a lot of other entrepreneurs. We kind of kind of started, you know, doing this, and then the shape of cedars evolved further in 2021
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 18:56
God, and until now, as a partnership you have done 10 companies investment 10 companies as leaders. And Abhishek, it’s been a long journey. Right. So if you have to think of four to five lessons that you have learned, what would they be?
Abhishek Rungta 19:18
I think number one any day is that you know, I think your your reason for investing in startups should be very clear from the beginning. Right? And and that was very clear for me it was learning because I found when I when I met the Morpheus gang for the first time in Bangalore and then subsequently in Goa and Kerala on their tools, you know, they used to have this very interesting get togethers. One thing I realised what that is massive learning right and someone who’s coming from absolutely exposure stabbed region of the country. For me, it was like a godsend, right. So I was here for learning. I was here for a while. With very smart and amazing people, and that was my reasons, I think the reason for getting involved is very important. Second is I think everything that you need to do is for the long term. Right. So that is, again, that has been my philosophy, my own company. And I think our 24 years of bootstrapping shows that. So that same philosophy kind of extended here. And I absolutely enjoyed that. Looking at long term, looking at building over time looking at compounding in a business. And I think that is very useful. The third thing that I kind of learned here is that, you know, there is nothing right or wrong in any business, right? I mean, you can be very, it’s very easy for you to judge people, it’s very easy for you to judge a company. But you know, more than more than often you will be proven wrong. And I have seen that happen with me. So I think I have, the whole journey has been made me less judgmental about company and people. And I can accept people and companies, you know, in their state in a better way. And that has definitely helped me as a as individual also. So I would say these are the three biggest learnings and I think, but most importantly, I think it has made me very patient, it has made me I would say better thinker, about things around me, and all the time. And it has also kind of given me that power to kind of start thinking about what the future will look like, and how things will evolve. I would not say that I love to do prediction, but I love to connect the dots and see how these dots connected, you know, forward, you know, I know Steve Jobs said that you cannot connect the dots forward, you can connect the dots backward. But I put my friend let him 10, you know, trying to see what trends are emerging, how the world would evolve and how people would start living in that world, I tried to connect the dots and try to see, to paint a picture that of a world that I would love to live in. And then that kind of gives me enough energy to look at companies who can be playing an important role in that.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 22:03
And this will be useful for many, you know, our audience listening, how do you balance that? What kind of, you know, how much percentage of your wealth you want to put into startups? Right? And how do you balance it right between US stocks and your stock? Startups and any other asset?
Abhishek Rungta 22:22
Yeah, so if I have my way, I will put all my wealth in startups, I don’t understand any other asset class, only in 2021. When, you know, we were all locked down due to COVID, I started thinking about, you know, how the wealth should be deployed. And I kind of figured out a 5050 formula that 50% debt 50% equity. And from that 50% equity, half should go into startups and half should go into, you know, the traditional businesses into stock market. I mean, you might, you might be, you might be a little shocked to understand this is the first time in last six months is the first time that I have actually looked at stock market ever in my life. And I started investing in some companies. And I think there is a very interesting learning that from the startup world that you can apply on stock market. And I think there are some learnings from stock market that you can apply in startups also. So I’m finding it very interesting. And I’m continually discovering that
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 23:14
and till till you discover the stock market, what was your major, you know, portfolio of investments, while the startup still at that point in time,
Abhishek Rungta 23:26
mostly startups and fixed deposits. That’s it. So either it will be in a safe deposit sitting in the bank, or it will be in startups.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 23:33
Okay. And in your mind, right, it’s been in a long and very fruitful journey, both as an entrepreneur, as an investor, you have seen multiple cycles. What do you think, you know, would be keys to wealth creation over a long period of time?
Abhishek Rungta 23:54
I think it’s all long term, right? So anything that you are looking at a long term horizon, I think can create wealth, and of course, investing in the segments of future, businesses of future as well as people, right. So I think, fundamentally be it my own business be it startup investing be it anything. I think it’s all about understanding and, choosing the right people to bet on. I think that is the biggest skill that anybody needs in my understanding, is that how do you identify the best people to bet on? I think that is what creates maximum wealth.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 24:33
But just in couple of meetings, the decision to identify whether this person sits in your top one percentile of founders, how do you make that because it’s extremely difficult.
Abhishek Rungta 24:49
It is difficult. So earlier, I think the early first 30 companies that we did, you used to get a lot of time to literally date the founder right you will meet them multiple times they will also be patient, they will also listen to you. And you will see how they are taking how they are moving forward, right. So you can monitor them over a period of time that how they are moving forward and then take your decision. Unfortunately, the current run of investment, and, founders, you don’t get that time. And everybody’s in a hurry, right. So this is definitely more difficult. And therefore, in this sprint of investing, a lot of times, I’m not able to invest in startups with just an idea stage. I mean, I would love to do that in startups, which is very early. But right now I have to look at a startup where I am possibly writing the second cheque. And have seen what they have done with the first cheque, have seen how they have grown. And also try to understand the background, do some rough cheque from people, and therefore a lot of deals that have done, a lot of them have come from warm introductions. So yes, this space is becoming a little difficult and different for both sides over time, because the time that you need to really understand if this is the right investor for me, or if this is the right founder for me, that has almost come down to 15 minutes, half an hour, one hour pitch. And this is not great, in my opinion, I think you need to definitely bring more time on that front.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 26:19
And in your journey, if as an investor in startup, if there is a couple of things that you could have done differently, what would have been?
Abhishek Rungta 26:30
as an investor, I think, network and meet more people again, I do not like too much of business travel, though I end up doing it. But I have not really spent a lot of time in going out and meeting a lot of people all over the country, I think I could have met a lot more people, which could have given me more exposure, more connects, I could have met more founders. And second is that, I should have possibly deployed my capital a little comfortably, so I think a lot of a lot of investors would do this, once they discover the fancy world of angel investing, right, they will start writing checque, and they will exhaust the corpus that they had kept for that. And that was one learning that I would definitely take out. Because since I exhausted that capital that I kept for writing cheques. I missed a lot of amazing companies. I mean, a lot of them you call unicorns today, and I missed a lot of them.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 27:36
What would be your top five or ten anti portfolio?
Abhishek Rungta 27:40
Oh, that’s a long list, man. I said, I will become a billionaire, if I would have invested in all of them. So I think one was, I think OYO. I think I met Ritesh in Delhi in a TiE conference, we discussed and I could not make up my mind that, you know, why would someone sleep in someone else’s house because earlier at that time, it was a different business, it was more of something like airbnb. But obviously, he pivoted that. And that was an interesting learning that, if the founder is great, the founder will pivot and build a great business, right. And that I definitely take it as a great learning, it’s not the business model that you invest in, it’s the founder that you invest in. And I didn’t invest because of the business model. But as you see, today, the business model has been pivoted, and he has like, grown into an iconic entrepreneur in India, which I have a lot of respect for. And I mean, there are many. So I think in one of the conferences, I still remember, I went to Bangalore, which is not very often I do, and I think it was a conference by yourstory. I think it’s quite popular. They do annual conference. And someone is coming out of Zoho and starting a company, and he’s raising funds, would you like to speak to them? And I said, you might have been a lot of investments. And I think I’m out of that cash now right now. So I don’t think I should do more I have done. I’ve been a very active investing journey. And that amazing company kind of IPO on NASDAQ, you know freshworks and I mean, if you just add these two companies, I think, you know, that was big misses, but again, there are many most so I mean, in some cases, I didn’t even go in and listen to the pitch because or spoke to the founder because I said you know, kaafi investment kar liya and ab thoda shaanti se baith the hai. So that’s why I said that, that was one of the biggest learning that you have to hold and be patient and not start writing cheque to every exciting idea that you look at.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 29:47
And now how do you balance between writing personal cheque and and doing a seeders, any kind of capital allocation you have personally in mind that this much amount, you put in individual personal small cheques across US and India, this much you put through seeders, and this much you have reserved for funds.
Abhishek Rungta 30:09
So seeders is not a fund right now, it’s a syndicate. And what we do here is that if we all like, I mean, at least three of us like the particular company, and the remaining two are not absolutely against that, that particular company, we go and do a syndicate of that for that company. And that’s why we are very selective, we are not someone who would just pick up any company and syndicate that we are extremely selective in that. So it is like a group decision, unless a group decides we don’t invest as a syndicate at a personal level, you know, I mean, if it excites me, if I find that the company is great, I like the founders. So again, it’s more founder driven. So my, for my personal checks, it’s more founder driven, I will go and write the check cedars, as four of us decide, then we will like the check, once we create the fund, all the deals that has to that matches, the thesis of the fund will always be done only through the fund. And I will actually also do all my investments through the fund. So unless there is, for example, the fund can is going to invest in India, and let’s say find a small startup in us, then, of course, the fund cannot invest, I will continue to maybe write a check to them personally. But apart from that, all the deals that we would like to do will go through the fund
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 31:20
and your LP in a few funds. So how do you decide which funds to buy? Right? And what’s your thesis there?
Abhishek Rungta 31:32
LP I look at, at the lead manager, and how he conducts himself, how he and his thesis his his thought process. And my way to find someone’s thought process is not just a conversation, I will go and research, his different interviews, his different, you know, content that he has put on online, the kind of companies he is interested in, at, in fact, also kind of speak to some of the companies that he is invested in, then kind of make up our mind. And I’m not like someone who will put money in all the funds, which are there, I would be very selective. And see what you know, is it at a broad level matching the way I look at a businesses because this kind of I’m delegating or outsourcing my way of my evaluation process to someone. Right. And so yeah, so I mean, I have invested in few funds, like I invested in sixth sense. I think, Nikhil Bora, I think is I mean, I absolutely adore him, and I respect him. I invested in your fund, I definitely respect you. So I think
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 32:41
the partnership has been wonderful, you know, from the first to second. And so it is like finding a friend for me rather than a partner.
Abhishek Rungta 32:51
So for me, it’s like, do I respect the fund manager? Do I respect the guy who’s going to take the decision? So I think the key word is respect here. Do I respect investors invested professional?
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 33:03
And are you looking for learning when you are investing in an LP in a fund and what kind of learning that you expect a fund manager to pass on?
Abhishek Rungta 33:13
So when I invest in a fund, honestly, I can’t get much learning because I don’t have direct access to most of the startups that the fund is investing. But I kind of, you know, keep my eyes open to understand which companies they are investing, what is the broad thesis because as I said, for me, the key key word is respect with respect, or if I respect someone, as an investor, I would love to understand what he is doing and why he’s doing and, and looking from a positive angle. So I think the last two years, one thing that I have been able to do very well is come out of my biases. So for example, I was I was not very comfortable with looking at companies that would lose money initially, or those are like consumer internet companies. But I think last two years, I have been able to kind of, you know, cut down on my biases, understand how those companies work, what’s great in them, because I cannot say that, you know, I am the most intelligent guy in the room, and everyone who are investing in those companies are are not so intelligent or are less intelligent than me. So I said, you know, let me kind of forget about the way I used to think. And let me also try to understand how other people think especially about investing. And that has given me a lot of learning in last one year. So I would say I’m learning from fund managers more as a distant observer rather than active participant, because that is not an option to be honest.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 34:31
And if you have to summarise you know, three investors, either it can be angel or funds, who, who you have, you know, immense you know, you look up to them, or who Debian why, right. Very specific reason why.
Abhishek Rungta 34:50
So, when I think I told you a few days back over WhatsApp, I think I absolutely adore the kind of deals that I’ve heard from better capital does. When I see The deals he do, right, I realised that, you know, if this, if this founder comes to me at the middle of the night and wake me up, I will still write a check for him. So this is the kind of founders, he is writing check for the kind of deals he’s doing. So I have immense respect for above. I love the kind of deals you do, I think you, you stick to you stick to the theme. I mean, so strongly. And you know, I think that is something that I need to pick up sometime, you know, you are extremely clear about the themes that you pick up. I also do, I have a lot of respect from the Kilwa. And I see the kind of businesses he has invested in. And I think watching his investments I have tried to understand about, you know, more than the consumer internet site, which was not an area that I knew much about, or kind of, you know, used to kind of take invest into, but after seeing what he is doing, what he has done, how he has done, to some extent, I think, I think he deserves a lot of respect.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 36:01
And who would be your top three angels? Right? Who, who you look up to? And why again.
Abhishek Rungta 36:09
So again, I have not recently, you know, after I’ve started again, I have not spent a lot of time in, in Angel investing in meeting people. As I said, you know, last two years, I have been locked down into my house, I have not really met a lot of people. So one one angel investor in us that I have been observing very closely. In his deal is when it’s uncomfortable, I think he does some very, very interesting deals. I’ve also seen, you know, in India itself, if I look again, my partner, Paula, I think Allah puts very, very clear and crisp thesis about every investment that she does. And the last person would be, I mean, I don’t think I have network so much that I would have more people’s name right now. But Rob, nice, I think is very good. In yours.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 37:02
Thank you so much. Appreciate thank you for sharing, you know, your life, your insights, your mistakes, very openly grateful to you for spending time on 100x entrepreneur podcast, right, it, I think it’s really opens up eyes on what anyone can look up to, you know, as a participant in the startup ecosystem, as an investor, you especially mentioned some key themes like long term, right, and, you know, deploying your capital in a very consistent manner, not not getting excited in one point in time and over deploying, but phasing it out over a long period of time. Thank you so much for sharing these learnings.
Abhishek Rungta 37:41
Thank you so much for having me. And I’m in a very early stage of my investing journey, and thanks for giving me this platform.
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