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New Age Investors Are Bringing in Inexpert Decision-Making - Says N.K.SINGAL, CEO, SEMCO

Neeraj Kumar Singal, currently the CEO of SEMCO group is globally networked, widely travelled, entrepreneur. He has spent two and a half decade serving the Rail, Defense and Automotive sectors with his pioneering spirit.

Neeraj Kumar Singal, currently the CEO of SEMCO group is globally networked, widely travelled, entrepreneur. He has spent two and a half decade serving the Rail, Defense and Automotive sectors with his pioneering spirit. His major achievements include entering into a JV with Chinese Ministry of Railways for manufacturing which he has been successfully running for the last 10 years. He has helped various overseas companies establish foot in Indian Defense & Law Enforcement market.

As a commerce graduate & Harvard Business School (HBS) Alum and exposed to the best global practices, he connects with youth very well. In fact, he is very receptive to new ideas and a fast learner. He is always eager to connect with startup founders. If the values and philosophies match, he is glad to invest too. He is always looking for investment in startups in any futuristic businesses.

1.     What is your take on the existing and future investment trends in 2016-17?

A.    Currently, I feel that there are lot of e-com models coming up in the market. It’s creating a lot of fuss in the market. E-com market is getting dense. Fin-tech is one kind of model which has lot of scope.

On the other hand, the new-age investors (with very limited experience in investments) are growing in number too. They are bringing change in the ecosystem with their inexpert decision-making.

2.     Being a part of many investing firms, what do you think is the most innovative sectors that can make it big?

A.    Fintech, AI, Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality, Health-tech

3.     What do you look for as an angel investor in the startups and characteristics in the founder before funding?

A.    Idea should be disruptive enough;

Model should be scalable;

Synergy within the team is the most productive factor for business growth.

4.     What are the major risks involved in the early stage funding and how has your experience been?

A.    One major risk that is involved is the continual change in market trend. One cannot determine that –

-         Will the particular model scale up?

-         Will it perform in a long run?

-         Will it bring a societal change?

5.     What is the kind of return on investment in different sectors that you invest and which is bound to grow the most?

A.    I hope that Startups building their position in AI / VR grow more in terms of scale & revenue.

6.     Is Modi’s schemes to help ease business, the GST Bill, SEZs and raising FDI bars, tweaking tax policies and easing registration helping adequately? 

A.    Govt. is helping adequately. It’s taking steps in right direction. However it still needs to give some free hand & minimum legal trouble to startups.

There is no proper channel yet that would help startups solve their legal ramifications. Although, market is ready since many such new startups are ready serve as legal-tech; but still need Govt. Support.

7.     Is it a good time for Indians to turn towards entrepreneurship in a big way?

A.    Indians are already turning towards entrepreneurship. Although number of them are not getting right opportunity or right time.

8.     Which domains in the industry do think are struggling with their growth in a big way? ( IT, AUTO or Railways)

A.    Railway; lot of things depend upon ministry, I don’t see how startups can grow in it as there is a long cycle & decision making is too slow.

9.     What kind of employment opportunities do you see for the Indian youth and the online generation?  Can the govt. initiatives like Make in India, Skill India, Digital India helping in any way?

A.    I see lot of scope in market. With number of ventures (mostly owned by young age entrepreneurs) coming up in the market, the demographics have totally changed. Indian youth are getting equal opportunities. Even people with limited resources but exceptional skills are getting benefit too.

Govt. initiatives are good. It motivates & inspires younger generation to think disruptive & take the leap to build something new. However, as I mentioned earlier, Govt. should also work upon removing barriers & frictions.


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