Photo
Photo
Photo

Episode 46 / January 5, 2020

Tej Kapoor, Fosun RZ Capital

hr min

Episode 46 / January 5, 2020

Tej Kapoor, Fosun RZ Capital

hr min
Listen on

 

 

 

Podcast with Tej Kapoor, Co-Executive President of Fosun RZ Capital (India & Africa)

From 2007-13, Tej held several key positions at AOL in the United States and then at Naspers Group.

In 2016 he joined Fosun RZ Capital, where some of his portfolio companies are Gland Pharma, Delhivery, MakeMyTrip, Ixigo and Kissht.

In this podcast, Tej shares his experience of working with both Large scale markets as well as Seed-stage startups in India & China.

Notes –
00:47 – Journey from AOL in the US to Naspers and finally heading Fosun RZ (India & Africa)
04:17 – What is Fosun RZ Capital about?
05:42 – Typical Ticket Sizes
08:45 – Focus Markets in 2020 – Fintech, Travel, E-commerce, Consumer Brands
10:54 – Parameters to evaluate Seed/Early stage companies
12:41 – Shift from dealing with Large Ticket Sizes at Naspers to Seed Stage Investing at Fosun RZ
15:25 – Role of Storytelling in Fundraising by Early-stage founders
17:46 – Crucial aspects to building and selling your product
20:20 – Growth Scale of Ixigo & Delhivery
22:31 – Key investments & Thesis at Naspers
25:12 – Experience & Learnings in working with Founders of Ixigo, Delhivery & Ibibo
28:57 – How’s the Startup and Angel Investing culture in China?
34:50 – New Verticals of E-commerce Startups coming up in 2020
36:58 – Evaluation of a Fintech Startup & New opportunities in Fintech Space

Podcast Transcript

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:00

This is the Siddhartha Ahluwalia. Welcome to the 100xEntrepreneur podcast. This episode is brought to you by Prime Venture Partners, an early stage VC fund led by Amit Somani, Shripathi Acharya and Sanjay Swami. Prime is often the first institutional investor in category creating tech startups in FinTech, SaaS, healthcare and education such as MyGate, NiYO, and Recko. To know more about Prime, visit prime.vp.in . Today, I have with me Tej Kapoor, Managing Director and head of Fosun RZ Capital India. Fosun RZ capital is an early stage to series A, Series B Venture Capital fund with headquarters in China.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:43

Tej, Welcome to the podcast.

 

Tej Kapoor 00:45

Thank you Siddhartha. It’s really nice to be here.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 00:48

We would love to know more about your journey.

 

Tej Kapoor 00:50

Sure. So, to give you a brief background, I’ve been doing investing in India for more than 10 years. And before that I was in the US again doing investments in US. Actually, my real learning ground was at AOL (America Online) which in 2007 to 2010, when I was there, was actually like a university. There were many business models that were being launched in AOL, whether it is personals or shopping, or classifieds. So, it was a great experience for me to be at AOL and learn these different businesses, which were just taking off in India. And when I came back to India, it was a very exciting time or low early days of the e-commerce journey and also internet journey in India. India is quite different as we know now than it used to be back in 2010. There were very few companies and few entrepreneurs. Flipkart is a great story out of that set of founders. And then I worked with Naspers here in India, where we had a bunch of properties that we invested in, including Flipkart, Travel Boutique Online, gaadi.com. Those were really the setting stone or years for internet in India. It was a great experience for me to work both in operations and investing team. We also launched Traders, I don’t know if you remember, but Traders used to be a similar model to ShopClues. And it was growing really fast. So, I got an opportunity to work in operations as well. So, it was a mixed experience of investing and operations at Naspers. Naspers here has been able to build some of the large businesses in India including payments, travel, as you know, with Ibibo and MakeMyTrip acquisition, investment in Flipkart and also Travel Boutique Online which is largest, even today, offline network for travel business. After that, I had experienced to work with Daily Mail group of London. And we were doing more data investments in India. And there was sort of winter in 2015 and I missed a lot of B2C opportunities on the hindsight. It’s good because I think I avoid making a lot of mistakes, because there was a difficult period for B2C. But Daily Mail was a great experience. We had investment in India today group, newspaper company, we did tech, real estate tech investments in India in couple of companies, and also looked at briefly China market, which was just amazing to look into. And after that, I joined Fosun. Fosun is a great dynamic organization with multiple funds. And it’s been a pleasure to work with Fosun folks. I did my education in Bangalore, had my bachelors and I went for my MBA to US. And then worked there for about nine years and then came back to India. So that’s been the journey so far. It’s been quite exciting.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 04:17

So what is Fosun RZ capital about? Can you tell more details?

 

Tej Kapoor 04:20

Fosun RZ Capital is technology focused fund of Fosun. As you know, Fosun is a very large enterprise. RZ capital focuses purely on tech investments in various series. We do early stage to all the way to IPO. Actually, in our portfolio, we have companies which we have invested or seeded, and we also have large companies like Delhivery and MakeMyTrip. So, we cover the whole spectrum in India. Over the last two and a half years to three years, we have built a portfolio of about 10 companies so far and we look to further build this portfolio into 20 to 30 companies. And in China, RZ has more than 60 companies that we invested in. In US, we have 10. It’s a global VC fund. We have offices in US, Israel, China, Southeast Asia and India. After China, the largest investments have been made in India. So, India is becoming second most important market post China for RZ capital, we have total strength of about 40 to 45 people, which majority are in China and then US and then India.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 05:42

So, what are your ticket sizes in some of the large investments and small investments like Ixigo delhivery, Kissht, then to smaller investments like Mylo, Headfone.

 

Tej Kapoor 05:53

We have two ticket sizes or rather I will divide it into buckets of three. One is a seed investments which are our minimum check size of 500K to a million dollars and then we do Series B onwards, which is about close to 5 million to $10 million and then we do large ticket transactions. So, we don’t typically come into D or E because in India as you know the valuation can end up being expensive. So, either we try to come in early or we try to come in late. We do a lot of Co-investment with various funds, come together with them. We don’t mind having multiple investors in one transaction. For the large ticket transactions, obviously, we have to build a lot of thesis around the company and what they are doing as these also take a lot longer because you know, we want to invest in undisputed market leader. So Delhivery is an example of that, where they have become one of the unicorn in logistics space and is growing phenomenally and I think the next company which would compete with Delhivery will be at least half or one-fourth of their size. In early stage, companies we take bet in smart and also very aggressive founders and also large markets. We have some precedent set from China. For example, if you take the example of Mylo, we have investment in Babytree, Kredily, we have the DayHR in China, which has done very well currently, is trying to build the largest HR platform for the SMEs. And similarly we have done PerkFinance which is also early stage deal, which is very similar to our investment in one of four companies in China called QuantGroup. So, we learned from China and try to find founders here who are doing similar models and in large markets we want to come in early. Also, Headfone is a great example of pure tech company, which has content creators on one side and consumption on the other side. On the content creation side, we believe that it’s not like one shirt fit all sort of a model you have to go vernacular. India is mix of many countries together. It’s not one country, which can serve only through English or through Hindi. So what Headfone is trying to do is build content for different geographies and getting the right kind of people to come and present themselves on that. So, we like to do tech plays, marketplaces, where scalability can be seen in long run, and also in the short run can add value for consumers.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 08:45

What are the markets you are currently focused in 2020?

 

Tej Kapoor 08:49

So, I think 2020, we will be focusing a lot on, again, FinTech, logistics, which happened to be our core strength areas as well in India and we have done well in those investments. Travel and also on the consumer internet side, any kind of product marketplaces you know, which will be our focus. We will definitely do e-commerce. Because I think e-commerce is still very small in India. If you look at the size of e-commerce is only 24 to 30 billion in India. And if you look at just one company in China called PDD, it does 64 billion of GMV. So, I don’t think that the e-commerce’s journey is finished. I think ecommerce is just getting started in India. India is running on parallel trains. What I mean by that is that the organized retail is growing at the same time. The modern e-commerce is growing. At the same time social commerce is building. At the same time influencer led commerce is building. So, we have different models which are getting generated in India and India does not just follow the path of linear movement. It follows the path of where different models can come together so we’re quite excited about e-commerce and the growth in e commerce. And if there is growth in e-commerce then automatically lot of businesses do build up behind e commerce as we know. So you’re taking bet on payments as well. We will take bet further into logistics as well. So, everything which is around the usable data, or internet use, or mobile first kind of companies will go after them. And we will selectively do content like Headphone sort of companies because obviously there’s a lot of growth in terms of MAU and the DAU, but monetization is still a challenge. So, but will take very selective bets in content.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 10:53

When you are evaluating early stage companies, seed stage companies, what are the parameters you are looking at?

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:00

Yeah, so for seed stage, it’s very important that you have a disruptive business model. Second, you have a very aggressive CEOs who, because you know, making companies is very hard in India and you need to back founders who have prior experience or are young and want to disrupt the models. We also look at co-founding team. We don’t typically invest in a one founder company because I think it takes a lot of effort to build the company. And we look at large markets, you know, large sectors rather. Obviously, India is a large market, but within India, what are some of the large sectors that we identify which we can look at and which have high growth potential. So, those are the key elements and obviously, the product market fit. We help the companies to identify how they can grow 10x rather than 1x and have ecosystem around it. Also, we encourage a lot of them to travel to China to understand from Chinese market because in a way India is following more closely the Chinese market then the US market, you know in terms of business models for sure. So, you know, we bring them. We do road shows for them. We help them in hiring. So, we want to work with CEOs who can look beyond what you and I see and try to bring in the immense value to the consumer.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 12:41

In your life, in the first half, I would say typically, you have been part of AOL and Naspers especially in Naspers, you have done large ticket sizes, approximately hundred million kind of sizes. What made your shift to early stage investment?

 

Tej Kapoor 12:56

Yeah, Both have their own charm of doing investments. Obviously, Naspers will take a few calls in a year but large ticket calls. While at RZ capital, we can do early stage. I think, it’s a different and exciting journey with early stage because you have to use more brainpower and also go deeper into a sector to understand what they’re building. Also, I think, there are small successes with the early stage. With the large company, you know that you are putting money for growth capital, and largely the product market fit is there. And the management team is already proven the model but in early stage, the journey really is more more tight with the founder and you’re feeling his pain, at the same time, you’re able to guide him a lot more and able to passing through different hurdles because I think, any CEO you talk to, you know, t’s not a very easy journey, you will have a great day and a bad day and it’s not so easy to raise money. So with early stage you get this excitement of having wins and when you have wins, you celebrate together and you feel accomplished. So, I think early stages is more exciting, definitely a lot more challenging and lot more hard work. Also, you can add value as an investor more in early stage because the CEOs are receptive to your ideas, they’re happy to listen to you . You’re their sounding board. While in large scale companies, most of the CEOs have their own views and by the time they have found their niche. So, it was great experience in both sides. But I enjoy early stage more just because you have so many balls to toss and the exposure you get. I think, the things that changed since I was talking about 2010 is a lot more smarter people coming into market with prior experience in large companies trying to build something new. So, it’s super exciting to have that journey with them and see them grow.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 15:25

What we have observed in the last 5-6 years, typically the early stage consumer companies which have succeeded have the founders who have good storytelling capabilities, those that can raise subsequent rounds of capital. Is it true that that’s the only things that counts?

 

Tej Kapoor 15:43

I think that is one of the most important things. It may be not the only thing but smart CEO is known by his fundraising capability. There’s no doubt about it. So, I think storytelling can only take you so far. After that, you have to prove your numbers when you’re doing seed, A even B, people start,especially the private equity firms when they come in, they start looking at numbers much, much deeper, they do far more diligence and they actually are looking at the conversion, which is really happening on the ground. So, when somebody is putting 30-40 million then obviously, they are looking at that level of comfort. So, in a co-founding team, it is important that you have one person who has a voice to the investors and who has capability to impress investors. That is definitely required. And I think you cannot discount fundraising capability of entrepreneurs. So, that’s one of the things we look at, can this person build a large enough company, right? And post series A, B, you will have to really deliver. I’ve seen many companies who have raised a lot of money and then post that, they were not able to deliver the numbers on ground and then they never became unicorns or never could leap frog to the next level. So, storytelling only takes you so far.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 17:46

What about those founders in India, who are good techies and who are good in execution but don’t have storytelling skills. Should they start building lifestyle businesses?

 

Tej Kapoor 17:54

No, I think building a company, you need to see all aspects. If you’re a CEO who has built a solid product and don’t have ability to sell it, then get somebody you know. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, I might not be good at one thing, but I’m certainly good at coding right. So, the people who know how to build large companies know where their gaps are, what is called self actualization and understanding oneself, then they can obviously go out and say, I want to hire people. What will make a great company other than fundraising, is capability to hire good team. Some CEOs are great at hiring great talent, keeping them motivated, having that earning that respect from their team, and some are not. Maybe you’re great at five things, but not beyond that. So,you plug in the gap, right. That is very essential, if you are going to build a very massive large scale company. Vijay Shekhar Sharma is a great example of that. He has hired, some of the people, I respect. Again, Sahil from Delhivery is another example where he had a large co-founding team and on top of it, he was able to plug in some really, really good people who were able to take good decisions and that’s what a solid founder and CEO need to do.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 20:05

What was the valuation of Delhivery and Ixigo when you entered and what are their valuations now?

 

Tej Kapoor 20:10

So I won’t be able to disclose the numbers as both are privately held companies right now.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 20:17

But if you can share what in terms of x they have grown?

 

Tej Kapoor 20:20

Ixigo has grown massively on trains since the time we have come. It was like a rebirth of the company and their value towards the train audience is just immense. They are doing about 30 million MAUs and 3 million DAUs with a marketing burn which is next to nothing. They were able to almost 30x their traffic. And I think one thing about product businesses is that once you have got the product, right, I think you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make the product work. And that’s exactly what Ixigo has been able to do particularly on the train offerings where people just swear by Ixigo app. And also at the same time, they were able to get themselves profitable, because they were able to acquire good traffic who they can convert into air or hotel business, and able to generate money. So a lot of investors used to question me will Ixigo will be able to make money? And the answer is yes, they are now, and you know, at a almost $30 million run rate, so they have really proven that they can convert their traffic into revenue. I mean, Delhivery is another example of great company which keeps growing, 40-50% year on year on large base, and also keep serving its clients, they have now diversified their product offerings, and they are, again at a path of maybe growing you know, more than 50%. So, that’s phenomenal growth for a company at that scale. They have rewritten the rules of how logistics is done in India. They actually are data driven company, and most of the decisions are done through data. And they have built an immense network, which is a huge moat for them. And if somebody wants to create, they’ll have to spend a lot of money to do that. So they are very well positioned company in logistics business.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 20:51

What were your key investments that you led at Naspers?

 

Tej Kapoor 22:35

First of all, I think before making investment when we when we came to India, it was early in the day and we were trying to build thesis. So there were a lot of things we did. Ashish was driving Ibibo and he’s a great guy to launch several products. So, clearly, travel as a segment came out which has a high potential, high growth and Ibibo was a product of that. Then, second thing we looked at payments because PayU was very big in some of the other geographies for Naspers. Nitin Gupta actually came to fundraise for his company and we identified that Nitin is a great talent. He along with Shailaz Nag started PayU which became into a multi billion dollar company. Once Naspers knew that ecommerce is working, they always focused on investing in number one player or a player which can become number one. So, obviously Flipkart came up and which was a great investment for Naspers. And then after that, OLX was also launched in India because they had OLX in various other geographies. So Naspers is very very sharp in terms of identifying the gaps and then either building the companies out, or to invest into companies and it really turned out that they have number one travel asset. And MakeMyTrip obviously now they have sold their stake to Ctrip and PayU still to continues to grow great leadership team with. A lot of new FinTech companies are actually Ex team members of PayU. Flipkart has obviously done phenomenally well for for naspers. And OLX keeps on growing and classified. So, overall strategy really worked out in terms of capturing and also Naspers was one of the early entrants into India because when this started, it was really times group and Naspers and you know, obviously, Info edge there were not many large companies in 2009-10 and Naspers as I would say Head Start over a lot of other investors. Obviously one more investment was Red Bus which did really well for them. So, overall, it was a great experience for me particularly and also for Naspers to come and capture India market.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 22:42

What is your learning working with some of the great founders like Alok from Ixigo, Sahil from Delhivery. And your previous stint at Naspers, like Ashish from ibibo you mentioned?

 

Tej Kapoor 25:22

So,I think my my learning is that, you look at all these founders and one thing you will appreciate is that, number one, they are very aggressive in their thinking and also in their execution capability. Number two they’re very hard working. For example I introduced Pushkar (Founder, Lets Transport) to one investor like at 5pm. And the next call I make to him in the morning and I said where are you and he was at that investor’s meeting room. So, it’s just the tenacity of taking the opportunity and that investor, by the way, did invest in Lets Transport. So,these guys can get on a flight anytime of the day or night or be anywhere just the aggression is very necessary. Also they’re full of energy which is kind of infused in other team members. Also they all are good listeners and play a very balanced role to manage their board, customers etc. And the respect they get from team is immense. So, they are able to earn their respect from your peer group etc. Similarly, we have another company called Kissht. There’s a same thing Ranveer and Krishnan, both are very different personalities. Ranveer is very aggressive and Krishnan is far more focused on the operations and both of them combined together is just a phenomenal team. So, all of them have built a solid team around them. People will not switch for money. They will really respect the founder. Ashish is a great product guy. While building ibibo, I still remember, he used to count on his fingers the site load time. And if it was more than three seconds, he would really call up the product guy and say what the hell is going on. His focus on product and his vision to see the product to really serve the consumer in the best possible ways next to nobody. You know and again Ashish is kind of a person who can work for 18-19 hours and he still is like that. That all put together sets you apart while others are sleeping you’re at work and your relentless effort to just keep going. Alok has gone through many cycles and his capability to turn around stuff is just amazing. Lot of respect for him. There were many times when Ixigo was facing challenging situations and he has, every time, come out of it as a winner.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 28:57

What are your learnings from China since Fosun’s headquarters in China, what kind of mandates they have to invest in India?

 

Tej Kapoor 29:05

China is different so I don’t think India and China culturally are very similar. The people think very similar, but India and China in terms of scale a are way apart, China is far ahead of us in GDP per capital, in terms of consumer internet speed, in terms of usage of data, in terms of people’s, sort of understanding of products. So, China is a country which is on steroids when it comes to internet, right. And the market is very deep. There are 400 million people who buy products in China compared to like, maybe 80 million in India now. There people don’t talk in MAUs. They talk in DAUs. Everybody lives their life on the cell phone from morning till evening. Whether it is ordering food to cab to anything, it’s really on the internet. So for anybody who’s in my business, it’s just an amazing pleasure to go to China and just see these different models. And also, like I said the capacity of people to spend money is much, much higher. Just one example is Luckin coffee, which became a 2 billion brand in less than two years. They just started in a very simple idea. When four people are in a conference room, they need a coffee. So instead of getting up, why can’t we just deliver it to the conference room, and that they were able to do very efficiently. And people pick the products very fast. So I think the future of internet in India is definitely going to be like China. We have already seen with Jio. I was in rural areas in middle of Madhya Pradesh, and I was able to get 4G. So, the data consumption on the content side has started. That need to convert into product orders, then we will see the same massive growth. So, as a VC, I’m super excited about India market. The next 10 years are going to be far far better than the previous 10 years. This is a real time to invest here. The market is getting deeper by the day. The entrepreneurs are getting smarter. Now, we also have a chain of companies that have got built and people are coming out of that. So, they already have learnings. So they will not make the same mistake again. When a Chinese come to India, they see amazing opportunities. Similarly when I go to Africa, I see similar opportunities, because Africa is probably 15 years behind us. So, the enthusiasm from Chinese investors is a lot, they want to learn, they want to understand, they want to invest. So, India has unique advantage of having both Chinese investors as well as American investors. So, it’s great time to be entrepreneur as well as investor in India.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 32:20

You are deeply invested in content spaces in early stages. How do you think these startups will monetize in the next two-three years?

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 32:27

Yeah, so we, I mean, we don’t have too many content companies, we have one or two and you know, so. So like I was saying earlier, I think content you need to build for India is to go deeper. So I’ll just give you my example from a newspaper point of view. So Amar Ujala still makes a lot of money. It is very specific UP market, which it captures, and does content for that and it sells. Similarly if you look at AajTak Hindi TV channel, it makes a lot of money as compared to IndiaToday English channel. So, I think you have to go deeper and build content in vernacular languages and then target that audience. Then the real market lies when you can excite the local people who spend in a particular state rather than the whole country because they want ROI. Content need to monetize through advertisers, or they can do subscription model, but that’s really for New York Times. But if you are trying to cover a large, massive market, then you need to go deeper into build these content, which advertiser will say, “Okay, I can target Chennai users and this app allows me to really build content for that.” So Headfone is exactly what they’re trying to do, they’re going to go deeper and deeper into each and every geography and then almost like micro sites out of each and every state. And then the advertisers like your local jewelry shop, auto companies, dealerships will say, “Okay, I don’t have to bombard the market because I don’t really want a user from New Delhi and I’m just focused”, because there are obviously the mega brands coke and etc, which look to do brand advertising, but there are, you know, the real market lies between, in the in the local play, and that’s where you need to build products for them. So, they can, then, start monetizing. So, that’s our strategy with the content companies to really go deeper into vernacular and then monetize.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 34:50

What kind of new e commerce and transportation companies will you see coming in the next 2-3 years?

 

Tej Kapoor 34:55

Ecommerce is already happening because we have seen the second generation of ecommerce like Meesho, Shop101. I would put in the second debate which were using the WhatsApp social selling platform to sell to users. Now we have got the third generation company which are like SimSim, Bulbul and then there cross border companies, which are like ClubFactory and Shien. So, these are three different segments and these three segments will keep on building their ecommerce offerings. And then obviously, you’ve got the Amazon and Flipkart. So, the question is that everybody has a different way of acquiring a customer and then offering customer what they need. And the great news is Snapdeal is coming back with their offering as well. But could Meeso become a billion dollar company? Probably, can. Right. Some of these new social shopping can also become billion dollar companies. And we have seen in the previous times, Snapdeal, ShopClues, Amazon and Flipkart became unicorns. So, you see that each category will have a winner, right and there’s enough audience for each category. TickTock is a pivotal moment for India because it has now made people to self personify themselves and become, you know, sellers. And these are the key opinion leaders who will go into these platforms and sell stuff. So it is like Homeshop18. If you remember back in the day, this is a new avatar of Homeshop18.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 36:58

How do you evaluate FinTech investments in India and what’s the next gen of FinTech coming in India?

 

Tej Kapoor 37:04

So, the banks can’t really solve all the problems for Indians. And the banks have different cost structures. FinTech is basically providing financial services with technology layer and doing it more efficiently and cost constructive way. Any large organization like with ICICI, IDBI, they have to follow a lot of norms, which are complied by RBI. FinTech companies have to follow norms, but at the same time, they have more flexibility to experiment and, I think, the government has been very supportive to them. So, FinTech has many facets sort of like, you have got payments, you ‘ve got lending, you’ve got wealth management. You’ve got rural financing. You’ve got commercial financing. So it’s like nothing new. Delivering food is not a new thing. Everybody used to do that but swiggy made it more efficient. Similarly, Uber made booking a car more efficient. So, similarly, the FinTech companies are trying to offer the same product, but in a more efficient manner. India is very young country. 70% population is below 35. So, they have a different need. Millennials have a different need. A loan guy who seeks loan has a different need. A person in college has a different name. A person working in a blue collar job has a different need, but all of them have need to use financial products. So you can make. There is no one winner take all in FinTech, right, whether it’s payment space. SMEs have a different need. So, FinTech that’s why is so exciting. Also, UPI has made a huge difference in payment space. Actually, we have leapfrog China in one area and that’s in UPI. Because we were able to get all the 21 banks together to work with each other and make all payments almost frictionless and also the cheapest way possible. So there’s a lot of credit to be gone to the UPI. On top of it, there are many different companies you can build. So, I think there can be at least 10 to $15 billion companies in India in the FinTech space, in different categories. Because all of us as we grow, we have different financial needs and that need cannot be fulfilled by individual bank, because bank’s primary businesses’ to take the deposits and lend the money. But on top of it, there are different layers that you need to build, which make their job easy. It is not eliminating the bank. I’m not saying that you have to eliminate the bank. You work with the banks to offer products and cover people which banks cannot do with their infrastructure. You provide insurance to people at the retail level maybe to the people who are self employed. So, FinTech is super, super exciting area in India. And again, huge companies will be built out of India, given the tech stack we have and the UPI stack. If you club them together, the proposition is really, really good.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 40:34

In the next 6-12 months, are you going to invest more in seed companies or series A companies

 

Tej Kapoor 40:39

Will do mix of both, not only series A, but Series B. So we’ll do a 50-50 sort of thing and sort of a split basically, depending on opportunities that we have. So, we are not definitely kind of investor who would just put money for the sake of putting money. We also think how we can add value beyond money. So, given that, I think our focus is going to be ensuring that we have enough mix on both sides.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 41:14

Coming to a more personal side, what does your daily routine look like?

 

Tej Kapoor 41:18

In Chinese company, the other thing is, you work very hard, you have to put a lot of hours. So, we have, obviously, on the post management side, lot of old companies to take care of and make sure they are, adequately, given our time and help them out at the same time hunt for new companies. So, it is by no means easy job and competition is high there. A lot of new funds which are there. So, one aspect is just to make sure that happens, but I in my daily routine, make sure that at least there is one hour of exercise that I can do other than spending time with family etc. Because it is important to make sure that when you work out, you burn a lot of good energy. It also help you to take your mind off from things you have been doing during the day. I am also a big fan of CureFit. So I go there. It excites me to be be with millennials and do exercises and the classroom setting. I think Mukesh has done a brilliant job in building that company. And then I read books, take some vacations, which is very essential, and also have a social circle and friends. They’re all very important. Obviously, we all live a very fast paced life but at times, It’s important that you take a break, go off, go to the hills. I like to go to hills a lot because that’s very close to nature. Living in Gurgaon or Bangalore, you’re always in this concrete mess. So you need to step out and take a break.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 43:18

What do you read on a daily basis?

 

Tej Kapoor 43:20

I definitely need to read startup blogs and also Economic Times. The Economic Times in the morning is my almost reading habit. I’m also subscriber to Economist. So talking about podcast, I download their magazine every week and listen to it. Also I watch Netflix. I also read books which are sort of inspiring, whether it is investing related books, like the Sapiens series, the new book that they are come out with is brilliant 21 lessons for 21st economy. So, something which sort of gets your mind thinking to other than investing as well. That’s also very interesting. For example, there are a few books which are by my bedside like Zero To One by Peter Thiel. These are typical VC books,like, Airbnb story, it’s phenomenal book, how these guys build the companies and it just helps me in my job as well as takes my mind off. So these are sort of things I keep reading.

 

Tej Kapoor 44:46

As a final conclusion to a podcast. What three advices would you like to share with young founders to deliver excellence in their business?

 

Tej Kapoor 44:58

Number one is stay honest to product because ultimately, that’s your test. There are many people now in India who could, for a good founding team, put money and give you some capital, but your product should speak for yourself. If your product cannot deliver, it’s going to collapse one or the other day. Second thing is be patient. It’s not that success is easy. I know many investors who passed on Zomato in the early days, so, there’s always somebody who will invest into you, you just have to be patient, at the same time, keep making progress. Third is hire quality people, even if it takes money, if it takes some of your equity, because if you can hire a person who can help you make your company grow 10x faster, they will repay for that. So, I think that’s very, very important that you build a very solid team around you, because that’s really going to define the company you’re building.

 

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 46:11

Thank you so much Tej. It was wonderful to speak with you.

 

Tej Kapoor 46:14

Thank you. My pleasure.

 

Vector Graphic Vector Graphic

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

Please enter a valid email id