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Konglo Ventures Want Indian Cost Base With Western Customer Base

Also: “Kerala is an interesting space for startups in India, it is one of the only states where the government plays an active role in shaping the ecosystem.”

Photo Credit : Wikipedia,

Vinod Jose is partner at Konglo Ventures LLP, a seed funding firm with its registered office in Cochin, India and with partner offices in Dubai and New York. The firm has been active since 2013 with 7 completed investments and 1 successful exit.

How do you evaluate growth and scale potential in an early stage startup?

Konglo operates as a virtual angel network. We have about 20 co-investors who work with us today from various sectors, geographies and with a wide-ranging functional expertise. We rely on the collective intelligence of this pool of investors to evaluate a deal. With more ‘eyes on the deal’, we increase the chances of taking an informed investment decision.

To evaluate growth and scale potential we typically look at:

1. The ‘size of the problem’ – i.e. is it a real problem on which a successful business can be built vs. a feature improvement for an existing player

2. Does it have a sizeable target market, ideally global markets even, rather than just a local play

3. Can the product or service enter new markets with minimal infrastructure requirements i.e. CAPEX or long lead times. We especially look for companies that have their cost base in India but target Western markets.

In an asset class like Angel investing, where do you draw the line between assumption and analysis when it comes to selecting your next investment?

From our experience, there is only so much analysis that you can do in early stage investments. Naturally, from a broad perspective, the fundamentals need to make sense, but we also rely on our experiences from our professional lives around the globe where we have seen similar business models/markets/companies.

Although the final decision, usually does come from the gut.

Konglo Ventures has opened its office in Cochin, what opportunities and hurdles does the Kerala ecosystem present?

Kerala is an interesting space for startups in India, it is one of the only states where the government plays an active role in shaping the ecosystem.

Agencies such as KSUM, KSIDC and KFC play the respective roles and support early stage companies with infrastructure, financing and mentoring where possible. We started our office in Cochin, purely out of logistics convenience, and there is no special reason for an investor to be based here. However, over the years, it has allowed us to position ourselves as a regional player which has its advantages.

How is Konglo Ventures positioning itself in the Indian ecosystem?

Our vision is to become a leading, reputed early stage investment firm in India in next 5-7 years. Investors outside India with a desire to invest back home do not have access to new business opportunities nor the bandwidth to conduct the necessary due diligence.

Konglo Ventures offers a trusted channel to co-invest in opportunities that are sourced and diligently screened by our team. With a comprehensive process to identify lucrative opportunities, we add 2-3 deals a month into our pipeline. More importantly, we prefer to own the investment decision. In terms of geography, while we curate deals from all over the country, we are keen on tapping into emerging startup hubs like Kerala that do not have the same access to investors like well-established hubs such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi.

This is an abridged version from an interview appearing on LetsVenture.

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