In a bid to understand the pattern of investments in startups and predict the future of funding landscape in India, TiECON Kolkata, on Friday, organised a panel discussion, ‘Where I’m putting my money in 2020 and beyond’. The panel gave attendees an insight into what angels, venture capital firms and other investors are looking at for the year.
Discussing the key sectors that could attract more investments in the year ahead, Shanti Mohan, founder of LetsVenture, said that fintech, healthtech, and startups facilitating the electric vehicle space are going to become investor favourites in the future.
For Digvijay Singh, chief operating officer of the Indian Angel Network, startups in sectors such as cleantech and agritech look promising to investors. While Unicorn India Ventures managing partner Anil Joshi feels that startups irrespective of the industry they belong to will continue to bring in investor interest provided they have real-world problem-solving capabilities.
Panellist and angel investor Mitesh Shah believes that the future is all about gaming. With the boom all over the world, startups working in this segment are going to lure investors in the year ahead and beyond.
Citing the example of Bombay Shirt Company, Anirudh Damani added that startups with mixed online and offline presence are also going to leave a mark in 2020. For the managing partner at Artha Venture Fund, B2B startups, which have the potential to earn revenue at the initial stages, are also going to be investor-friendly.
What Investors Look For In Founders
In addition to the business model, investors have a sharp eye on founders that are behind the ideas and businesses. While discussing what qualities of a founder attract an investor, Damani said that entrepreneurs who are using data to solve problems and tracking the journey of the idea leave a positive impact on investors. For Shah, founders have to be hungry and dynamic to attract the right investor.
Moreover, Unicorn’s Joshi believes that entrepreneurs that have references or past experiences will have a better chance of raising money as they bring credibility along with the idea. For Singh, founders, who are ready to mould their ideas according to the changing times and technology are the ones who get investors’ attraction.
The panel also discussed the factors that turn off investors. What should entrepreneurs strictly not do?
For one, Joshi said founders that fail to explain their market end up disappointing most investors. This means founders and entrepreneurs need to have data about the market on hand and be ready to take decisions on the basis of the data.
Sanjay Enishetty, MD and CEO of 50K Ventures, added that entrepreneurs that don’t go beyond just the basic knowledge of the sector they are in, the product and the ecosystem fail to get cheques from him. IAN’s Singh added that founders need to display technical experience as well, but that may be subjective from sector to sector. However, failing to understand the commerce side of the product or unit economics will result in difficulties in convincing investors.