LetsVenture, India’s leading angel investing and startup fundraising platform, aims to help budding entrepreneurs secure funds worth Rs 1,000 crores (USD 145 million) in the next two years, its CEO and founder Shanti Mohan says.
Speaking on the sidelines of LetsIgnite, an angel funding event hosted by her organization in Bangalore on Saturday, Mohan said, “We want to do (help raise) at least a thousand crores (INR 10 billion) in the next two years or it doesn’t make sense…”
As many as 13 startups, shortlisted from a 600-strong list, pitched for funds before investors at the event this year.
Speaking about the current investment scenario, Mohan said the startup ecosystem had come out of the 2016 slump.
“We are picking up, but it is also moving towards a little bit of madness. While 2016, has been a great learning time for the ecosystem (which can be gauged from the fact that) the quality of entrepreneurship has gone up and the live-a-night investors are also gone, so I think it is good.”
An entrepreneur and angel investor herself, Mohan is also excited about startups that are India specific problems, which she believes have a global appeal as well.
“Startups solving India-specific problems have started to look promising, serving 300 million people who have just got internet connectivity. There are a lot of startups around vernacular videos and solving issues that are very India-specific,” she observed.
Several emerging startups that employ technology to solve problems in the Indian agriculture, finance, hardware and other sectors, could be put to a more global use, she believes.
“A lot of them are saying, ‘while I am solving for India – this will also apply for emerging markets’. For example, there is a startup which is building an app where one can get voice-based instructions while using other apps in a smartphone in vernacular languages; that app can also be customized for Latin America and Southeast Asia. So, though they are solving Indian problems, they can also be customized for global markets, which is a very interesting trend,” said Mohan.
Emphasising on the need to customize, she said, “If the products go global and are not customized for the local market, then they won’t be adopted. One can’t say I am big in India so come and use me. It doesn’t even happen for US companies when they come to India. They have to adapt to the different market,” says Mohan.
Mohan, whose organization has been bringing startups and angel investors together through the LetsIgnite event since 2015, expressed concerns about several Indian startups dying a silent death due of lack of guidance.
“I think there is a lack of mentorship, help, guidance and all of that. But also, I think that will change over time. Startups are not looking just into monetizing and getting but more than that. They want an investor that can also add value. They want smart money,” she said.
On a different note, with co-working spaces raising funds through their platform, Mohan believes it makes the journey less lonely for budding entrepreneurs.
As per reports, the demand for coworking space is set to outgrow that of traditional office space by 2020, and many coworking space providers are mushrooming in India, like WeWork, Coworking Hub, BHIVE, 91Springboard, among others.
“As a founder it’s a lonely journey, and with co-working spaces it is good that you are able to create a community where you can actually meet other people or else you are all alone there. Co-working can help you make it feel less lonely. Also, we have had co-working spaces raise money on our platform.”