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20 Questions for 400 Crore Mahesh Murthy (Part 2)

He is brutally honest, and constantly has Quora wondering why he hates Flipkart. Here we ask the investor some straight up questions and he gives us some straight up answers, like whether startup conferences are a waste of time or not.

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Check 1st Part of the interview Here (

11. How many startups would you typically like to have in the Seedfund portfolio?

We currently have made investments in 32 startups across 2 funds.
Having 12 to 24 startups in a fund seems to be the right range.

12. Looking for more startups to invest in at the moment or absolutely no more room for more startups?

As of now, no room at Seedfund - we're full up there! But I'm investing personally :-)

13. What’s the one big thing an entrepreneur can do to convince you to invest in their startup?

Convince me that your startup can be a dominant leader in a niche without spending much money. And yes, convince me that you're not a mercenary - that you're not here to hump and dump, but you're here for the long term.

14. Best way to contact Seedfund:
a. Email
b. Head to the office directly
c. Thru a referral
d. Phone call

Ideally an email to from a referral.

15. Is it a waste of time and money for novice entrepreneurs to pay to attend networking events and startup conferences?

What do you want from it? Funding? Unlikely to get it. Gossip and buzz? Sure you will.

Decide what you need now.

16. Why?

Too many clueless speakers speaking the same Silicon Valley lingo, usually in the same American accent.

Not much of value to be gleaned from there that is of relevance to us in India.

17. Seedfund prefers to invest in sustainable business models selling a product with proven demand (like clothes and food for instance) or innovative, slightly wild ideas with a bit more unproven risk?

If there already is an estimate of a market size in the sector and a few proven models there then we are not likely to touch it with a barge pole.

We have always sought businesses that start sectors, not follow them, and that can be a dominant leader, not a copycat follower.

18. How do you deal with write-offs and losing money?

Sad. Learn your lesson. Move on. Try to avoid the blunders that caused the earlier loss.

19. One piece of advice to novice investors

Remember it's a long portfolio game: you have to have diversification and you have to have patience.

If you have the appetite to invest in at least 20 diverse companies and wait for at least 10 years after investing then you have a chance of coming out ahead. If you don't, then put money in an SIP of a Mutual Fund.

20. Which role do you prefer? Being a seed investor or heading a digital ad firm?

Seed investor? Digital marketer? Corporate speaker? Happy dad? Itinerant traveller? All of the above.
Each one helps me be better at the other four.

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