In Brief Shunya One Ep.26

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On this episode of Shunya One, Shiladitya and Amit are joined by Japan Vyas, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Sixth Sense Ventures Advisors LLP. Japan shares his experience as a venture capitalist, seed investor and mentor to ensure a sustainable ecosystem for new businesses.

Japan gave his perspective on his investment choices across various sectors.

“My investment thesis is very simple - people matter. I invest ahead of trends. So the first fund I invested where - PayTM where no one knew much about it. That fund itself did infrastructure financing and outperformed the market significantly when people were losing money in infrastructure. Out of the second fund in 2012, I was an early investor in RBL Bank, IndusInd Bank, National Stock Exchange. So each of those investments are 4-5X  up from their cost price, much ahead of their cost prices before financial services became a hot topic. I prefer investing where others are not investing because I find value there. My belief is that there is a lot can be done on the social impact side and you can create great consumer brands over there. When you talk about doing social impact investing, people think of it as doing charity, or kuch hoga nahin, I don’t believe in that. If you have patience over there, if you build the business well, you can create great consumer brands. Because people want to buy such stories, given an opportunity.”

He spoke about the Indian startup ecosystem for the investors and founders.  

“I think the Indian ecosystem is still young, and it’s shallow both on the investment opportunities available for the investors and the founders, right. We all learning. You will see a lot of people doing things for the wrong reasons, so investing as you said, for making a 3X in a few months, etc. But we will learn along the way. And it is still very very early days in the Indian startup ecosystem, we are what, maybe 10-15-year-old ecosystem. I think it will deepen, it will strengthen and hopefully going forward we will see lesser and lesser investments happening for the wrong reasons.”

Shiladitya enquired about the involvement expected by an angel investor from the founders of the company. To which Japan responded:

“So most of the times I don’t think they are required to be involved unless there is a lead angel, and he or she has brought in for a specific purpose to add value to the company. Off late, I’ve been doing a lot of seed investing where I come in early, or I am expected to play a lot more active role. So my investee company some of them say, give us more time, come with us, meet our customers, meet our vendors. We want to share those relationships with you that you know it is a way of managing a key-man risk, saying that if something happens to us, at least you have those relationships. So different kind of founders will have a different set of expectations from you.”

Catch the episode here: