Episode 22 / July 14, 2019
Story Behind Alteria Capital, India’s Largest Venture Debt Fund
Ajay Hattangdi is Managing Partner and Co-founder of Alteria Capital, India’s largest venture debt fund. Ajay started the country’s first venture debt program while at Citibank in 2005. He subsequently went on to create the first dedicated venture debt business in the country as the founding CEO for InnoVen Capital’s flagship India NBFC which he ran from 2007 to 2017. Alteria Capital was started by Ajay Hattangdi and Vinod Murali in 2018. It has invested in almost 20 companies including Stanza Living, Dunzo, Universal SportsBiz, ZestMoney. Vogo, Country Delight and Toppr among others.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the podcast:
1. Venture debt is very helpful for companies to add to their cash runway between equity rounds. It can help the startup improve valuations while minimizing dilution when taken as part of an equity round. Companies should not take venture debt where there is a binary element to their business or if the business model is still in the proof of concept stage.
2. Entrepreneurs should not underestimate the importance of serendipity in achieving success. Serendipity is the combination of preparedness and timing. Once you have the opportunity and the timing is right, execute the heck out of it.
3. It is very important for entrepreneurs to balance passion with cold logic to chart the path forward in their business. Passion provides the fuel that entrepreneurs need to obsess about their companies and drive forward relentlessly. But entrepreneurs that work with only pure passion may miss the signs that the business is off course. Knowing how to balance these two forces is critical for success.
4. The best teams always include people with complementary skills which compensate for each other’s weaknesses. Build your teams accordingly.
5. The best advice is to find something you enjoy doing, stay curious, not be afraid to revise your thinking if the facts change, take ownership for your mistakes, and don’t take life so seriously.