Episode 58 / March 29, 2020

Mohit Gulati, Managing Partner, ITI Growth Opportunities Fund

hr min

Episode 58 / March 29, 2020

Mohit Gulati, Managing Partner, ITI Growth Opportunities Fund

hr min
Listen on

About the Episode




“It’s fine to grow slower, but importantly to grow sustainably.”

Mohit has been a successful Angel Investor since 2012 growing over 20x in his portfolio. He even considers his learnings from one of his early investments – Local Banya equivalent to an MBA degree.

Since 2017 he has been a part of the Investment Trust of India Group and manages investments in early-stage innovative ideas.

Some of his Portfolio Companies are – REVOS, Evolve Snacks, and ten3T Healthcare.

In this podcast, Mohit shares his experiences & learnings of investing in Startups which have sustainable growth models.

Watch all other episodes on The Neon Podcast – Neon

Or view it on our YouTube Channel at The Neon Show – YouTube

Notes –
00:42 – His learnings from being an Angel Investor
05:40 – Investing his own money in early ideas in Ecommerce Startups
09:32 – Co-investing in REVOS – Smart Mobility Platform
11:15 – Investment & Growth Thesis in Evolve Snacks
12:40 – Investing in Preventive Healthcare – ten3T Healthcare
18:04 – Avoiding over-ownerships in Portfolio Companies to have a downside protection
26:20 – Is securing a Hyper-investment a sure success parameter for a Startup?
28:59 – Important to have Sustainability in Investing v/s Spary & Pray

Read the full transcript here:

Siddhartha 0:00

This is Siddhartha Ahluwalia, welcome to the 100x Entrepreneur podcast. This episode is brought to you by Prime Venture Partners, an early-stage VC fund led by Amit Somani, Shripati Acharya, and Sanjay Swamy. Prime is often the first institutional investor in category-creating tech startups in Fintech, SaaS, healthcare, and education such as Ezetap, MyGate, and mfine. To know more about Prime, visit Today I have with me Mohit Gulati, who is the head of ITI growth opportunities fund. Mohit, welcome to the podcast.

Mohit 0:36

Thank you, Siddhartha, for taking time out and getting us on to this wonderful podcast.

Siddhartha 0:41

So, Mohit, we’d love to know more about your journey in a summary and what is ITI growth opportunities fund?

Mohit 0:47

Sure. So, I started my career way back in 2009 as an institutional equity sales and research guy, realized very early on by about 2012 that it’s more fun in creating market cap versus just betting on market cap, that’s when my tryst with early-stage investing began. So, like a typical stock market person, I walked out the thought of doing ibanking sort of a unit. But as luck would have it, we had five guys coming to our office, wearing suits and saying that, hey, listen, we’ve just quit our jobs at one of the largest logistics companies in the country. And we now want to go out and set up an e-commerce dedicated logistics firm. This is way back in 2012 when Flipkart was selling books, and the word eCommerce itself was so nascent. To give things into perspective, India was doing $3 billion worth of GMV for the full year while China on its 11-11, single day, did $7 billion that year itself so that was a comparison you know we had so much to catch up. So the first question was obviously why eCommerce dedicated logistics formula needed. But somewhere down the line while you know evaluating the company while actually trying to stitch that round, got a sense that this is a space which is definitely up for disruption. I’m probably betting on the best team. And that’s how my first check happened with a company called ECOM Express where we got people, capital in a follow on series A within eight months of our investment.

Siddhartha 2:17

What was your first check?

Mohit 2:20

So, my first check was extremely small, I think nine lakh rupee check. It was basically all my earnings from three years of working in corporate that I put in.

Siddhartha 2:29

So, you put in all that money?

Mohit 2:30

I bet all that money. So my parents are regular doctors in Puna. They don’t have any financial investments. We don’t come from a large finance background as such, nor do my parents have that kind of money for me to go out and play with. So this was all my earnings. You know, when you’re young, you’re just ambitious and you want to make that quick buck. And sometimes you get your calls right, sometimes you get it wrong. I was just lucky that at 24 when I was betting eight and a half or nine lakh rupees on one firm which was all my savings worked well for me.

Siddhartha 3:02

That was I think 20x of return?

Mohit 3:04

It was a little more than 20x. When Warburg Pincus came in, we sold at a much higher multiple. So it was highly profitable. But I think, more importantly, it was actually building this business together. So, like I inaugurated Puna operations, I set up operations when Krishna asked me to go to Puna. And, have the team there, because that’s my hometown.

Siddhartha 3:27

And this company we are talking about is ECOM Express?

Mohit 3:29

This is ECOM Express. Yeah. So, I learned very early on when you’re putting personal checks, and with money that you’ve really hard-earned, and it’s not coming as you know, so-called business entity or something of those lines. You’re 10 times more driven to actually make that company work. And that was the story with ECOM Express took that money off. Did the exact same with Grab.

Siddhartha 3:53

When did you do exit ECOM Express?

Mohit 3:55


Siddhartha 3:56

In four years?

Mohit 3:57

In about three and a half to four years, roughly. Then took that money, put a larger check in a company called, which I sold to Reliance early this year.

Siddhartha 4:08

And that was again, I think, on the same line, 15-20x

Mohit 4:11

So, it was a space that probably should have done a 15-20x. But we, I think, I probably walked out with 7x or 8x on that. So, I think, it’s difficult to make the first crore, after that the multiplication factor any which way kicks in and then it’s obviously nice if you can do a 40-50x, but sometimes 5-6x but on a line or on a business which is here to sustain, which is built on the right ethos, that is what mattered to me. So across all my investments, the one commonality you will see is, they’re all intensive with people. We’ve tried to generate as many jobs as possible. And when you do that when you have over 20,000 people who depend on you for their livelihood, you want to make sure that the business is profitable, or there’s at least a path to profitability and sustainability. So, look at the year today, 2019 the stock markets are getting hammered. You’re seeing a lot of tough questions being asked to Uber, to WeWork, to all of these larger entities saying that, listen, where is this going, you’re burning so much money. And that’s one thing which I want to address with my startups. Our style of investing is very simple, where it’s fine to grow at a slightly slower pace, your product quality will anyway make you get that organic growth, but build something which is sustainable. Don’t raise over the top money just because it’s available, raise the right amount of money, build frugally, get the right people on board, and that really is what matters the most. So, that essentially was you know, the core thesis of all these investments, so did 22 investments between 2012 to 2004 all from the personal money with ECOM Express money coming in and rotating around. Again, I think by 2017, I’d finished most of that capital, I depleted everything in terms of investing, and then I realized that okay, I’ve not really made any new money in terms of salary or anything of those lines for almost five, seven years. That’s when it struck me that you know, why not institutionalize this process of not only investing for myself but also for my friends, also those who believe in what we do. So, prior to ITI, I actually set out a fund called Altius ventures, which was essentially my own entrepreneur journey towards setting up a fund. I was very ambitious back then when I was 27-28. And I thought I can do it all by myself, I realized that Okay, I need a strong co-founder, things were not going in the right direction, quickly pivoted within about 12 months of setting it up and came back and joined hands with ITI group. To give a very quick summary of ITI, it’s essentially the Investment Trust of India. It’s a listed entity, run by the co-founder of Sun Pharma, Mr. Sudhir Walia. So 22 businesses house across the ITI umbrella. This one really fitted in perfectly where you know, this is targeted towards early-stage investing tech as well as a little bit of nontech, house the fund with these guys. And also I co-own the fund with them today. But we’re taking full management control over the day to day operations and our style of investing, raised a small amount from the family and the rest from outsiders, which is essentially domestic capital, not foreign capital. Our idea is to do a small concentrated hundred crore fund, build an institutional credible track record of not only taking money and deploying money but also giving back money. I think, one of the biggest problems or challenges with our spaces is very few fund managers have actually been successful in giving back money. We want to change that. So I’m 31 today doing a $20 million fund. My ambition or aim is to hit a billion-dollar AUM in the next 10 years and that will only happen on the bank of taking money, making returns on it. And giving it back. And that’s really our core thesis of what we are doing. So all our investments today are focused on, you know, giving us profitable exits within five years, which is the fund lifecycle.

Siddhartha 8:11

But how does it feel, you know, going from an independent entity to heading a fund, because it’s more responsibility like now and correct me if I’m wrong, it’s more like a job right now?

Mohit 8:21

Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, managing others’ money is a fiduciary responsibility. And I mean, it is exactly like you termed, it’s a job, which you should take very seriously. You have SEBI which has very tight compliance and regulations around what we can do and what we should not do. But I think the core thesis is, you know if you adhere to self-compliance that is more important than being struck by what the world tells you to. So the day I got into a formal fund structure, I made a conscious call that I would never personally invest in any form. I would never invest money from my fund into a company without already invested in it because that’s just wrong. You know, it’s principally wrong on my part to put in money by taking my LPs money. So, these are not things that SEBI has really put into pen and paper. I know a lot of people out there who’ve actually done warehouse deals in their personal entities and then you know, put it back into the fund, some at par some at a premium. We just didn’t want to get into that structure. What is in the fund stays in the fund. We are extremely possessive about the deals that we do. We don’t partner with Angel groups or smaller investors, we only partner with marquee people who add more value to that particular business. So, our first investment from the fund is a company called REVOS which is in the software space for EV two-wheelers. It’s one of the largest in the space today. Our co-investor there is Chetan Maini from Sun Mobility. I mean for me, he is like the original Elon Musk in India, right? Somebody like him as a co-investor I would take any day but anybody else who just opportunistically wants to ride on this wave is not welcome. You’re welcome on the fund, but you’re not welcome to piggy bank on my deal as simple as that. So we’re a little close guarded around what we do, which is why we just keep our heads down and just scout for good companies, invest very clandestinely, we don’t really declare too many of our investments, we will catch them on ROC, which is fine. Our thesis is very simple that if you’re building something, the noise around it will anyway happen just because of the merit of the founder, the merit of the company, we don’t need to go out there and thump the table and say, this is where I invested. So, this is the x millions or billion that I’m managing.

Siddhartha 10:40

and what have been the other deals through the ITI Growth Fund.

Mohit 10:45

So, from idea growth, we got our SEBI license in December 2018. So it’s been about eight, nine months since then. The first six months of the year have been extremely intense for us. We did five investments in six months. So we moved very quickly with these investments. We’re just in the midst of deploying in three more businesses, which will probably all get announced within the next two to three weeks. So, REVOS was the first one of them which is in the EV two-wheeler space, but more on the software side. Our second investment was something which I’m extremely happy about right now, with a company called Evolve snacks, which is in the packaged FMCG space targeted towards healthy snacking, but the price to perfection. Our core thesis there was why is healthy equal to expensive? You go to a restaurant you see a salad it costs 600 rupees or 500 rupees. I mean, it’s not like the ingredients in a salad are significantly different from the main course item. It’s just that they choose to make it expensive because it’s somebody who’s asking for a healthy option. Why not charge him more. With Evolve, we wanted to change that. So you know, these are packaged chips and I’m being a little audacious here and saying that we take Frito lays head-on with the same grammage and offer better quality, better quantity, better nutritional value, and at the same bloody price. So at 20 rupees, we take Lays head-on. So, today Evolve as we speak is growing at an exceptional pace, it gives me the same feeling as what I got with ECOM Express in its early time when it was growing. So, we have a few things that are happening at Evolve. I don’t want to jinx them by saying it out loud right now. But you will see us creating the right buzz-building a great FMCG business in the right way it should be. A lot of new-age brands came and fizzled away, we won’t be one of those, I can promise you that. So that was investment number two for us. Our third investment was a company called ten3T, which is again a very innovative product. It’s a cardiac monitoring device, which does a six lead ECG, which is you know, very very useful in step down ICUs. So within an ICU you anyway have your entire cardiac setup but when you go to the step-down, it’s not very frugal, it’s not very economical to have a full-fledged cardiac monitor. ten3T actually has built a patch which is medical grade. And for us to be able to convince hospital owners to take it off directly, we decided to do a top-down versus a bottom-up approach. So as we speak, Tata Memorial Hospital which is the authority for cancer research, as well as a cure in India, uses 25 of our cardiac patches across the Bombay hospital, which Tata has and on a daily basis, we are monitoring 500 patients. So, I think across the lifespan of about eight months ten3T has a database of 90,000 patients with their cardiac activity monitored for more than three days at a time. Where today very accurately, we can actually prevent a cardiac ailment. I wouldn’t even say ailment, a cardiac risk which is possible, we are able to predict way before it actually happens. And that’s where healthcare for us is heading to. Instead of doing curative health care, we all need to start focusing on making investments or doing things in the preventive healthcare side. So we’ve been very excited about the prospects of this business. So, ten3T was our third investment. The fourth one was in a way different space. While everyone’s talking about the video space and the euphoria around video, you’ve seen Netflix and Amazon Prime go completely mad with video content that’s being produced. For us the core thesis was video in a way makes you dumb. If I ask you Do you remember Game of Thrones? What happened in season three, episode five? You definitely don’t remember it. Because there’s something about video, you consume it for the moment, you probably enjoy it for that moment and then it’s gone. But audio has a very different little lasting effect on your brain. If I ask you a song from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, which is a movie essentially came 22 years ago, or let’s even go further behind in time, if I ask you for a Lata Mangeshkar song from the 80s. Chances are that you would remember that song a lot more than you remember the Game of Thrones episode because the audio in some way sticks to your mind. 98% of Americans at some point in time in the last one week alone have consumed a podcast. We are creating a podcast as we speak. But 98% of India doesn’t even know what the word podcast means. So we’re invested in a company called Hubhopper, which is one of the largest podcasting apps in the country, integrated across all Samsung Bixby phones, Alexa devices, OLA play anywhere and everywhere. And our thesis is that once you start about once you’re done with consuming dumb content on video and you want to upskill yourself, you’re actually going to be consuming a lot more podcasts, things like these. These are going to stay for eternity. And I’m hoping that you know, someday India wakes up to the podcasting space. It’s monetizable in terms of revenue. But we’re very happy with what HubHopper has achieved in terms of, you know, a daily active of almost two and a half million people consuming things from the Hanuman Chalisa to devotional songs to all sorts of content which is targeted to various subsets of people. So, it’s been exciting across these four or five companies, we did one more investment in a packaged beverage company called Brekkie, which essentially is a nutritive milkshake which is targeted towards the urban youth who tends to skip a meal. It could be breakfast or lunch or dinner. So this is 12 grams of protein delivered to you in a packaged bottle which tastes really nice and price to perfection. So, within the last four months itself, you know, this is a brand which is doing a 10 lakhs of sale just in Bombay alone, and very excited about taking this to the other cities like Delhi, Bangalore, and Pune. So, we’ll be doing something with Virendra Sehwag as we speak, we’re just in the midst of signing that up. So there’s a lot of excitement and action happening at our end. So over the next, 12 to 18 months, we’d be doing almost 15 odd deals from here on. So, that’s really been our story in a nutshell.

Siddhartha 17:24

And what’s the minimum ticket size to the maximum ticket size for ITI.

Mohit 17:27

So, from the fund, we do a minimum ticket size of a hundred thousand dollars and take it up to about $600,000. But the ITI group, you know, essentially is a group which is worth almost $10 billion in cash. So we do look at a lot of secondary late-stage deals. So, We’re looking at Nykaa secondary, we’re looking at Zoomcar secondary, so a bunch of these secondary things that we look at, but that’s more from the family office perspective. But on the fund, we are restricted towards early-stage 100K to 600K.

Siddhartha 17:58

And what’s the percentage you own in these companies?

Mohit 18:02

So in my past experience, I’ve learned is over ownership is never good. I mean, it’s great basically that you want to try and own too much. And then you realize that there’s no point in owning 40% of a company which is worth five crores, you rather own 20% of a company is worth 50 or you know 10% of a company which is 100. So, we are very lenient with our founders, what we do is in some structures, which we are not able to price in the round on the first stage itself, we do minimum equity of about 10-12% and do a warrant structure, which gives both the founder something to play with and it gives us some kind of downside protection. So, we set out some performance milestones which are agreed upon by the founder, if they can meet it in 12 months, they can claw back equity from us, or vice versa, we claw back equity. So, the idea is to try and be as fair towards the ecosystem and its founders versus being greedy. So, that’s really our style. So, I would say typically, which started between 10 to 18% at max, I would not want to be owning more than 20% of any company at all.

Siddhartha 19:10

And you do follow on as well.

Mohit 19:12

Yes, we do follow on as well. So, we have reserved a capital of about 35 crores to be followed on across four or five Institute investments, something like Evolve will definitely follow on.

Siddhartha 19:25

And for these five companies, you are the first lead investor or the first investor to come in?

Mohit 19:29

First institutional investors always, that’s our style. Wherever we come in, we are definitely the first institutional investor on board, there could be an angel investor prior to us which is fine.

Siddhartha 19:41

And since ECOM Express and now building the portfolio for ITI, what has been your learnings in terms of companies which scale 50 to 100x since we are doing 100x entrepreneur podcast, the meaning of this is how entrepreneurs can become 100x, learning from previous signals.

Mohit 19:58

So, there are two ways of doing it. One is you just use a lot of money, market yourself if you’re a B2C company and you can grow 100x within no time. Is that 100x sustainable? Maybe not as well an example is a and so many of them. I mean, I think India has seen far more mortality of 100x growing companies versus that have seen steady growth. The other way is do it slowly and gradually I like, you know, I have so much high regard for a company called Bigbasket. At a point in time, we competed with them. You know, I was invested in a company called Local Banya so we were the king of Bombay. BigBasket was the king of Bangalore. They never did something which was abnormal in terms of competition. It was a very healthy, fair competition, but they just kept on beating us sustainably on a better product, a product that had zero fil rates. It’s scaled rapidly but sustainably. So today would I say that BigBasket is a product which can be here to stay absolutely in that space. I don’t want to name all the other guys, but this has carved a niche so many miles above itself about the others. I’m on the sideline, which says that build businesses which are scalable, or which you’ve scaled to but with some bit of sustainability to that scale, versus something, which is just going to be a little bit of a spike and will fizzle out. So, if you have the right people backing you if you’ve got the right customer-centric team, which is focused over there even on the B2B side, something like what Girish Mathrubootham has done. And some of these guys on the SaaS side, they’ve solved real-world problems, which is why their products have had so much adaptability across various countries. Look at Zoho, look at Freshworks all of these guys. Right? So, I’m a firm believer that scale and large capital raises will happen if you’re building something in the right ways and the foundation of those businesses right If you’re the shaky foundation and you’re just trying to build more layers because you have the availability of capital, you will fizzle out. WeWork is the biggest example of that.

Siddhartha 22:09

And what are the things or companies that didn’t work out for you? And what are the lessons from them?

Mohit 22:14

Local Banya is I think the biggest of them all. So many lessons that, I can write a book someday on why local Banya didn’t work out. The entrepreneurs not being the best of them all to do a space which is so difficult. I think, my learning and understanding of Indian consumers went up I think 50 notches after being invested in Local Banya.

Siddhartha 22:38

That was a tuition fee.

Mohit 22:39

There was really an expensive tuition fee. I tell people I didn’t do my MBA because a lot of my MBA money actually went down with Local Banya.

Siddhartha 22:47

How much you invested in that?

Mohit 22:49

35 lakhs which was a large check for me back then. It’s unfortunate that they went down but it gave me massive learning of how India consumes So today when I invest in FMCG businesses I know exactly what India is looking at, or what Bharat is looking at. I know, Bharat is the new buzzword in town but you know it’s you have to actually go on the ground to realize the way India looks at things. And if you’re not able to cater to them, the negative word of mouth or the disservice on all your marketing services that are there can be so high that the backlash can completely wipe off a business. Take an example, not just for Local Banya but look at Paperboat, right, a brand which was built out of nowhere scaled up really quickly and now suddenly fizzled off. And there are so many of these brands right? So a lot of learnings from each investment that goes down. But I think if I have to broadly summarize it, for all the three investments or for investment that I lost money on. The one main underlying factor which is like a horizontal across everything is my call on people went wrong. So, I’m actually 100 times more sure about making an investment when I get my call on people, right? My thesis on investment is simple. If you’re the right set of team or writer of people doing and executing even the most mundane or the most rundown business idea, chances are that they will succeed in some way or the other in the next few years because they will find a way to pivot and they will find a way to scale it up. But even the best of ideas run by mediocre slash not so driven entrepreneurs, chances of their failure are 110% higher.

Siddhartha 24:33

But how do you figure that out in five to six meetings over a coffee with the entrepreneur or even talking to their five best customers?

Mohit 24:40

So, these are, of course, the standard hygiene practices that we would do as part of our due diligence. But I take an abnormal amount of time is actually going to their houses to meeting their family, stalking them on LinkedIn and Facebook and seeing common friends, talking to them about that particular entrepreneur, doing a lot of these, you know, social channel backchanneling around what each person is. And, of course, that’s not the sure-shot proven mechanism. What I’ve realized is as investors, we get bombarded with over 1000-1500-2000 deals a year. So, your ability to gauge a good person from a not so good person is anyway a little higher than most of the people would have. When you club that ability, with a little bit of tech all around, it’s not that difficult, you know, in today’s day and age, it’s not that difficult to find all those data parameters but ultimately boils down to a gut feeling inside which says that okay, he is a nice guy and he is not so nice guy. And you want to just take a call leap of faith. Sometimes that leap of faith works very well for you, and at times you can go wrong. But I think that’s the fun of being in this space. If everything was in pen and paper and black and white, then life would be so mundane and investing would be so easy.

Siddhartha 26:08

People will pull their money for public markets and put it in startups then.

Mohit 26:10


Siddhartha 26:12

And you mentioned about nice guys, but nice founders also don’t last because there are so many things, they don’t get the product right after scaling or their competition funded by SoftBank or the likes. There are so many deals.

Mohit 26:29

I think SoftBank is the real taboo word now in our ecosystem. They can completely change the direction of founder and his entire business if they’re on the cap table and if they’re in a competitive business, then it’s literally RIP. No, you’re right. I mean, I’m a firm believer in destiny, where I feel that everyone’s destined to achieve what they are meant to be. Any particular x investor comes in and hyper funds somebody, that is not the sure-shot mantra to success. Take the example of Paytm with even Alibaba is on the cap table, it’s not a sure shot mantra to success. I think PhonePe is a phenomenal product, I think GooglePay is an even better product. And both of which are kicking their asses. So I think, it’s unfair, that some of the good entrepreneurs are not able to raise that kind of money from some of these institutions. But that’s just the nature of the game. If you are good and you’re savvy, then you know when is the right time for you to go and do the right conversations. If you’re not in the right conversation, that means somewhere you lack as an entrepreneur, or you were happy in your cushioning space where you felt Okay, nobody can disrupt me from here on. So, I think like an entrepreneur, you have to also be like a watchman, looking outside and seeing what is happening around me. Is there any business out there that can actually come and disrupt me if somebody comes and hyper funds them. So it’s just the nature of the beast, in my opinion. You need to just be cognizant of where your competition is. Money, yes can disrupt things for you. But ultimately, if you are here to stay and you’re building something which is sustainable, which has the right unit economics attached to it, no matter how much money is spending. Even for us at Local Banya, we had 200 crores of ad expense from Times of India. BigBasket didn’t have that. But we couldn’t beat them because they were just a better product. What can you do with marketing money when a better product is competing with us? I think the same example applies to so many other spaces.

Siddhartha 28:43

And as a conclusion to a podcast. What has been your routines of growth where you have grown as an investor which you can share with other founders or other young investors listening to it.

Mohit 28:57

I think one of my biggest life-changing and evolving activities was the liquidation sale at Local Banya where we had to give up our whole warehouse, and we liquidated 68 lakhs worth of FMCG products in one Sunday. The heartbreak around that liquidation was so high that I just kind of promised myself that never again, will I let any entrepreneur fail, no matter what I have to stand there, and make them survive those storms. So for me today, the way our fund is structured is also you know, I shouldn’t be actually saying this out in public, but, I hope it helps some of the entrepreneurs, for us, every investment that we do, is definitely going to stay or it may not yield us a 10x or 100 x, which is fine. We will have four or five of them which will be outperformers, which will give me that higher return that I want. But for all the others even if I do a one to X on my investment or even I am just plain vanilla one x is fine, because at least my money is giving them wings to go out there and pursue entrepreneurial passions. So we are here to sustainably invest in businesses that are here to stay versus a spray and pray model, unlike some of our friends out there. So, that was one of the biggest learnings that seeing the heartbreak around an entrepreneur is so difficult. And also I use that a lot with my communications with entrepreneurs. So if I’m not doing investment, you know, if somebody pitched to us, and we’re not doing it, we make it a point that we actually schedule that call and tell them why we’re not doing it. And tell them that listen, whatever we say take it to the piece of salt. We may be totally wrong in understanding your space. I think it will not give me any pleasure. If I tell entrepreneurs, no. And five years after wasting his life, he realizes and he shuts his company down. And he comes back to me and says hello, I sure heard you five years ago, that doesn’t give me any happiness. But if by me being the Negative about your business, it drives you to come back a year later, improve your performance matrix matrices by five, seven x. And you can like, I’m happy to, for you to even come back to me and like slap me on my face and say, Hey, listen, you said this will not work, I made it work. That’s a scenario. I’m okay with. The other scenario where I see a young, talented individual along with his team wasting their time, that is not acceptable to me. So we are, as you know, clean as of a vessel, we would go out and call a spade a spade and say, this is why we’re not doing it. This is what we think will work, this is what we think will not work. You may hate us for being upfront. But we are better off being upfront today versus sugarcoating. I know so many of my investor friends, you know, who will just needlessly engage entrepreneurs. If they have a traction of 10,000 people on their app, they’ll say why don’t you hit a scale of 100,000, the moment 100,000 come, they say, I think 1 million is a better metric for you to go, uski toh jaan nikal gayi from 10,000 to one lakh or one lakh to 1 million he is slogging his ass off, burning money like there’s no tomorrow, working overtime, completely shutting off his social life. What’s the point of doing that engagement as investors within the first 15 minutes, we know in our mind whether we’re going to do it or not. And if you’re not going to do it, just be upfront about it. What’s the point of taking time out? So I think those are the two essential lessons that I’ve learned from my investing career.

Siddhartha 32:18

Thank you so much for sharing your journey so candidly.

Mohit 32:21

Thank you so much for having me over.

Our Sponsors

Sponser Logo

Looking to build a differentiated tech startup with a 10X better solution? Prime is the high-conviction, high-support investor you need. With its fourth fund of $120M, Prime actively works with star teams to accelerate building great companies.

To know more, visit!

Vector Graphic Vector Graphic

Know when new episodes are released. Subscribe to our newsletter!

Please enter a valid email id