9 Questions For Hyderabad Angel, Viiveck Verma

He feels some angel investors will be cautious post demonetisation. Viiveck Verma is cofounder of Anaptyxi People Consult; co-organizer of TEDxHyderabad, and board member of Hyderabad Angels. He also invests on his own in startups that catch his eye. He is looking to fund 8 to10 startups before 2017 ends.

1. What’s your take on the current Indian startup ecosystem?

The Indian startup ecosystem is poised for some real high flying outputs to come out as a result of the relentless efforts made by various stake holders for quite some time now.

What in my opinion is lacking or needed is some kind of enabler for all the right ingredients to come together. Currently some inputs seem incongruous and hence not resulting in good output.

But I am very confident that we have the ingredients to make a great dish and just need a solid chef or recipe.

2. How has demonetization affected budding startups?

Not to a very great extent as most businesses were in any case technology enabled and hence depending on digital world.

Some slowdown from investors who fund in their own capacity as angels may happen due to some confusion in the market about liquidity. But that in my view it would be temporary.

In fact I feel this will give a lot of new opportunities for startups to create new business models in a newly demonetised world.

3. You build and mentor startups. What are the challenges you face doing so?

The greatest challenge I face is making startups understand what help to seek from whom. Startup founders are often confused and end up not making the best use of the advice given. Sometimes because they take too much advice and sometimes because they act upon bad advice from the wrong people. Which sadly may result a shutdown of the whole operation.

The other challenge is dealing with stubborn entrepreneurs not prepared to seek advice.

4. What are the top three qualities you seek in a successful entrepreneur?

Someone who challenges themselves and others to keep learning and discovering new concepts.

Very important: Someone who is able to work with people across segments, employees, team members, customers, vendors and society at large.

Last but not least someone who has the desire to take risks and adopt innovative thinking.

5. What are you doing to promote budding entrepreneurs from tier 2 and 3 cities?

I mentor lots of startups from tier 2 and 3 towns. You will find me helping out with their business problems over phone, email and Skype all the time.

I am also part of a group which focuses on product innovation and conduct many events and exhibitions for innovative products.

6. Before investing, what do you look for in a startup?

For me the most important factor in a startup is the team. It should be a team of founders. I don't invest in single founder companies.

I look at how well they have prepared themselves, how thorough their business plan is and how thorough their research about markets and competitors are.

Last but not least, I look for startups that have thought of more than one revenue stream, just so we can make risk mitigation more effective.

7. What does the future for risk capital look like?

I think it’s going to be an exciting time ahead for investors. More and more successful startups are going to be coming around and that just gives them so much more choice. This will make for healthy competition – it’s more than welcome.

8. What sectors do you find most attractive?

In my view, the future, given enough tech enablement, lies in education, healthcare and agriculture.

These verticals have very far reaching impact as the number of lives each impacts is huge and also because these areas are where gaps in meeting consumer demand exist.

The amount of funds available in these verticals is quite high both in investment and also in grants. As we improve in these verticals real development will happen in India.

9. What are your projections for year 2017? How many startups are you aiming to fund?

I am quite excited about 2017. I currently have a portfolio of approximately 15 companies and expect to invest in another 8 - 10 in 2017.

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