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There Couldn’t Be a Better Time for Investors: Vikram Gupta, Managing Partner, IvyCapVentures

IvyCap focuses on investing in early and growth stage companies across sectors such as Healthcare, Education, Food based businesses, Technology, e/m-Commerce and other innovation oriented businesses. We believe that in the case of early/growth stage companies, a strong collaborative approach is critical for success.

BWDISRUPT interacts with Vikram Gupta, Founding & Managing Partner

IvyCapVentures about the Investment Funds & Strategic Business Plans for Indian Startups. IvyCap Ventures is India's first Innovation and Technology VC Fund that leverages the Alumni ecosystems for investing, value creation and divesting.

IvyCap Ventures Trust Fund 1 invested in 10 portfolio companies: RML Information Services Private, Aujas Networks, FieldEz, Vinculum, Leixir Dental Labs, eShakti, Purplle, Sokrati, Clovia and BlueStone.

Vikram Gupta Specialises in: Entrepreneurship, Investments, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Fund Raising, Deal Flow Management, Fund Deployment, Risk Management, Value Creation, Strategic Monitoring, Strategic Exit, Strategic Planning, Healthcare Industry Expert, Business Process Innovation, Business Transformation.

Excerpts from the Interview:

1. How many companies has IvyCapVentures invested so far since 2013?
We have successfully funded a total of 13 companies, broadly invested in 4 categories which are Healthcare, FinTech, Consumer, Technology (1 of which is an Agro-Tech company). These companies were more or less funded from the first fund, with an average size range of Rs.20 crore per investment.

2. IvyCapVentures raised its second fund this year in April 2016, what is the status of investments from this fund?
The actual size of the fund we intended to raise was actually Rs.600 crore, out of which currently we have raises Rs.450 crores. And this fund has allowed us to invest in 3 companies so far and another 4 are in the pipeline right now. A total of 7 companies will be closed soon with the second fund. In the big picture, one can say that we are planning to close a total of 15-18 deals this year (January-December 2016), mostly investing in Series A & B rounds of funding.

3. What are the major characteristics that you look for in the Startup Teams that you invest?
We look for 3 things in particular:-
• Conviction & Background: What is that team members have given up for this startup dream, how much are they ready to go ahead with their vision, what kind of hard work are they ready to put in etc.
• Business Model: We look carefully at the problem that their startup is solving, how big is their problem and what factors can help them become successful, whose problem are they solving?
• Execution: One of our prime focus remains execution where we look at startup opportunities that are strong with their execution tactics, as mostly people fail on that.

4. What is your take on Kishore Biyani’s recent comment that, “90% of startups are a waste”?
I feel everyone has a right to say what they want but the choice of words could have been better. We are at the stage in the Indian Ecosystem, where the failure rate is going to go up gradually. Generally speaking, people who have never invested will turn investors for the first time and learn to strike the right chords at the cost of somebody else’s money. Similarly, entrepreneurs who are doing business for the first time shall also learn at the cost of somebody else’s finances. So, yes the failures will be higher in number but we need to take them positively. Last but not the least, I feel this general trend of involving more are more people to invest will be better for the economy.

5. What is your view about the IoT & FinTech sectors in particular?
Well, I feel that IoT is a fairly new opportunity that people are beginning to understand and it’s a bit over-hyped. And FinTech also has the same story wherein it is able to offer solutions to business problems but certainly there are big fundamental opportunities attached in both these sectors and it is bound to take off very soon.

6. What are your long term goals and insights for the Venture Capital firm & how are they in line with your plans for the future?
We are basically long-term investors and plan to stay with firms for a longer duration, at least till the period we get the whole value of our investments. So, we plan to make our first exit this year which is currently being discussed at the moment and the return on investment is definitely very good, higher than the industry average. The company’s name shall stay undisclosed until then. In my vision the next big thing that we are looking forward to is a billion dollar investment opportunity in assets & management.

Secondly, we have already built another platform for connecting the startup ecosystem and all kinds of resource persons who want to be a part of the communication in the sector. It is called ‘IvyCamp’ and it is already one of the largest platforms for incubators, accelerators, mentors, founders and investors together forming a alumnae body of members of the startup ecosystem. We want to take it to the next level soon because it has a lot more scope, I can see the way it has scaled up pretty fast.

Lastly, I would just like to say that overall it is a golden time period to invest for seasoned and professional investors with multiple opportunities touching the Indian Startup Ecosystem & I feel there couldn’t be better time to do so where entrepreneurs are also excited to experiment with new ideas.

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