This article is part of our series on the essentials of starting up in India in which we had earlier compiled the Top 15 Accelerators, Top 20 Incubators, CoWorking spaces and Venture Capital firms in India.
Driven by the desire to change things the way they work, entrepreneurs strive to realise the true potential of their business ideas. But, lack of deep pockets and competition from bigger market players is something that kicks the startups out of their road to success. It is these initial times and hardships that startups need a backing. And, this is exactly where Angel Investors come into play.
Angel investors are usually experienced entrepreneurs who themselves have been through the same phase and the ones who understand what it takes to create a billion dollar company out of an Idea. With handsome amounts of money in their pockets and a will to trust others with their finances, these ‘Angels’ step in and provide the initial support and sometimes mentorship that helps startups successfully take over these crucial and challenging times.
As a part of our In Focus: Starting Up In India series, this time we bring to you comprehensive list of active angel investors in India.
Sunil Kalra started his career in exports and later set up a leather apparel manufacturing unit which succeeded and gave him an opportunity to work with global designers. He is now a member on Indian Angel Network as an independent angel investor who has made quite significant investments in microfinance and analytics enterprise but has a bias towards internet startups. He invested in more than 12 startups in 2014 alone.
Educational Qualification: Graduated from University Of Texas at Austin in Marketing and International Trade(1984-1986)
Industries: Sector Agnostic
Sharad was the CEO of Yahoo! India R&D before founding BrandSigma and was responsible for emerging markets engineering and several key global products. Sharad is an evangelist for developing technology product businesses in India and leads in efforts to nurture the ecosystem. He was the chair of the NASSCOM Product Forum and is the co-founder of the iSpirt think-tank. He actively mentors startups, and speaks frequently on industry issues.
Educational Qualification: Graduated from Delhi College Of Engineering in Electronic Engineering (1982-1986)
Startups Invested In: Frrole, Mobilewalla, HashCube, Druva Software, Kwench Library Solution, Vayavya Labs, Unbxd, Consure Medical, Aurus Network Infotech Pvt. Ltd
Industries: Consumer Internet, Mobile and SaaS
Rajan Anandan has invested in a large number of startups. The Google India MD’s previous experiences include being a Managing Director at Microsoft India for 2 years and working for Dell India from 2006 to 2008. In 2014, he invested in more than 14 startups.
Educational Qualification: MSc. in Manufacturing Systems Engineering From Stanford University(1991-1992) and BSc. from Massachusetts Institute Of Technology(1987-1991)
Startups Invested In: StepOut, Capillary Technologies, Sourceeasy, 24/7 Techies,TargetingMantra, Instamojo, CultureAlley, Social Cops,MissMalini.com, Socialblood.org, Mobilewalla, POPxo.com
Industries: Internet, Mobile and Saas based startups
Krishnan Ganesh is a business executive who is the Chief Executive Officer of TutorVista, an online tutoring company. He and his wife Meena Ganesh invest in around five startups a year and put in $25-250K in each of the startups.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Delhi College of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering(1977-1982) and did Post graduation from IIM-Calcutta in Management(1983-1985)
Startups Invested In: Must See India, SilverPush, HackerEarth, Oximity, Overcart, Browntape, delyver.com, Onlineprasad.com.
Industries: Consumer Internet, Healthcare, Education and Tech Companies
Meena Ganesh is an entrepreneur and CEO of Portea Medical which is a provider of home healthcare services in India. The husband-wife duo has a midas touch which is evident in the four startups where they invested and then successfully exited as well as their angel investments which went on to raise subsequent VC rounds.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Women’s Christian College in Physics Hons.(1980-1983) and Post Graduated from IIM-Calcutta (1983-1985)
Startups Invested In: Must See India, SilverPush, HackerEarth, Oximity, Overcart, Browntape, delyver.com, onlineprasad.com.
Industries: Consumer Internet, Healthcare and SaaS
Ritesh Malik is a doctor by profession but an investor, an Entrepreneur, an Angel Capitalist, a photographer…. you name it. He is driven by his zeal which made him venture into different sectors of business world. After working for 10 months at Ganga Ram hospital, he has not stopped till date. He founded Woodapple Hospitality and ThinkPot, and co-founded AdStuck Consulting and Harvin Academy. In 2014, he invested in about 8 startups.
Educational Qualifications: Did his MBBS from M.G.R. Medical University(2007-2012)
Industries: Technology, Hardware
This young fellow claims to understand consumer internet which is advocated by his two much talked about startups frankly.me and inoXapps. Frankly.me is a platform where questions from celebrites can be asked and they will reply via video. His first startup inoxapps develops games and apps for Android and has managed to rake in a large number of downloads. He invested in about 7 startups in 2014 alone.
Educational Qualifications: IIT-Delhi dropout in Textile Technology(2006-2010)
Startups Invested In: Gingr, Piquor, Agatsa, workouttrends.com, Inc42
Industries: Sector Agnostic
Anupam Mittal is the founder and CEO of People Group which owns businesses such as online matrimonial service Shaadi.com, real-estate portal Makaan.com, mobile content and applications company Mauj Mobile and People Pictures. Known for his business acumen and an eye for detail, Mittal is an active angel investor with over 20 investments to date. In 2014 alone he invested in around 8-10 startups.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Boston College(1994-1997).
Startups Invested In: Tushky.com, Olacabs, PrettySecrets, Sapience, Druva Software, Zepo, Peelworks, Taxspanner, Cafe Zoe, Interactive Avenues
Industries: Clean Technology, Consumer Internet, Mobile, Healthcare and SaaS
Kunal Bahl is the co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal.com, which is among India’s leading online marketplaces. He started at Jasper Infotech Ltd in 2007 with a seed amount of INR 40 lakh. After tweaking the business model half a dozen times, he came up with the marketplace model for Snapdeal.com and success followed.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Wharton School of Pennsylvania
Industries: Ecommerce and related sectors
Sachin Bansal is the co-founder and CEO of Flipkart.com. He founded the company in 2007 which started as a humble online book store and later ventured into other product categories that proved to be a huge success in our developing country. Earlier, he used to work as a senior software engineer at Amazon, now the archrival of flipkart. Before this, he had worked at techspan as an associate for 5 months.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated From IIT-Delhi in Computer Science(2000-2005)
Naveen Tewari started mKhoj, a local mobile search firm but later pivoted to a mobile advertising network with a global model which is well known as InMobi. He is also the founder and chairman of India SchoolHouse Fund, a nonprofit enterprise that works to ensure effective delivery of education in poor rural areas of India. He didn’t stop at this and now he uses his spare time to mentor entrepreneurs and invest in startups.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from I.I.T. Kanpur in Mechanical Engineering(1996-2000) and did his MBA from Harvard Business School in General Management(2003-2005)
Industries: Internet and Mobile Businesses
Ravi Gururaj is a member of the NASSCOM executive council. He recently launched a startup incubator called Frictionless Ventures which is an idea experimentation lab that picks up and incubates ‘ideas’ and ‘concepts’ in the cloud computing, mobility and big data space. He is a top executive at software firm Citrix Systems and also co-founded Harvard Business School Alumni Angels. He invested in about 8 startups in 2014.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from University of Pennsylvania in Economics and Computer Science Engineering(1984-1989) and did his MBA from Harvard Business SChool(1998-1999)
Industries: Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Social Media, Cloud Computing and SaaS
Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the founder of One97 Communications. He made mobile payments familiar to every Indian because of its ease of use and security. Coming from a small town and a hindi medium background, he never let his problems stop him from innovating. He used to live on streets with less than 15 bucks in his pockets and had dreams worth millions which he certainly fulfilled. His energy, knowledge and passion made him bring revolution in telecom infrastructure.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Delhi College of Engineering in Electronics & Communications(1994-1998)
Industries: Sector Agnostic
Samir Bangara is the CEO and Co-founder of Qyuki.com which is a platform for artists to create content, connect with like-minded people and monetize their creations. He started his career in venture capital with IL&FS Venture corporation and moved on to being an investment banker with Ernst & Young. He joined Indiagames in 2005 as Chief Operating Officer and grew the company which led the sale of the company to The Walt Disney. He led the Disney group in India as Managing Director and left it to join Qyuki.com in 2013
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from University of Mumbai in Bachelor of Commerce and Finance (1993-1995)
Industries: Consumer Internet, Social Games and Development Platforms
Abhishek Rungta is founder and CEO at Indus Net Technologies, a web development and digital marketing company. He started this company with 50 bucks and now has an annual turnover of INR 40 Cr. Started at a very young age of 19, this commerce student had an interest in technology which made him a frequent visitor of tech expos where he rented a stall and his journey started from there. He has never looked back since then.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from St. Xavier’s College in Bachelor of Commerce(1996-1999) and did his post graduation from University of Bath in Multimedia Technology(1999-2000)
Startups Invested In: Plivo, iimjobs, Azoi Inc., iDubba, Secpanel, Shopo.in, Letsventure, Eduora, CapricornGifting, CarSingh
Industries: Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Digital Media, Advertising and SaaS
Pallav Nadhani is the co-founder and CEO of Fusion Charts and RazorFlow and CEO at Collabion, seemingly a serial multi-tasker. He started this company in 2001 at the age of 16 from his bedroom as he found himself dissatisfied with Microsoft Excel’s charting capability while completing his high school assignments. The company is a service provider of data visualization products and owing to its success it was included in NASSCOM EMERGE 50 leaders in 2009.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from University of Calcutta in Bachelor of Commerce(2002-2005) and Post Graduated from University of Edinburgh in Computer Science(2007-2008)
Startups Invested In: Plivo, Azoi Inc., iDubba, Shopo.in, Eduora, CarSingh, CapricornGifting, Cropex, Eduora Technologies.
Industries: Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Cloud Computing and Ecommerce
Aloke Bajpai is the CEO and co-founder of ixigo.com which he founded because of his love of travel, history and culture. He started his career at Amadeus in Europe, where he was part of the team that built the world’s first web-based travel agency booking tools. He is a guy who loves to do everything and travelling across the globe made him a big time foodie. His love for Internet products and Croissants has never ebbed since then.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from IIT Kanpur in Electrical Engineering (1997-2001) and did his MBA from INSEAD (2004-2005)
Industries: Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Mobile and Ecommerce
Bhupen Shah is the co-founder and CTO of Sling Media which is a technology company that develops place shifting and Smart TV solutions for consumers and set top box manufacturers. Prior to Sling Media, he co-founded Emuzed Inc. which was focused on mobile multimedia. Furthermore, he was the VP of Product and Technology at RealChip Communications. He also worked at Philips, IBM among others.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from University of Michigan in Computer Engineering (1979-1981)
Industries: Invests in Online Startups
Zishaan Hayath is a tech entrepreneur from Mumbai and co-founder of Toppr.com. He also runs an angel investment club called Powai Lake Ventures. Prior to this, he co-founded Chaupaati, a phone commerce marketplace, that was acquired by Future Bazaar. Earlier, he worked with management consulting firm Opera Solutions in Delhi and New York and FMCG major ITC Ltd in Bangalore.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from IIT Bombay (2000-2004)
Industries: Ecommerce, Travel, Mobile, Real Estate and Education
Manish Singhal was the founding member at LetsVenture, which is an online platform for startups to raise early stage investment. He is a serial entrepreneur and an angel investor. He is also an active mentor on the CIIE Mentor Edge Panel, Startup Village and Venture Labs. Before starting LetsVenture, he spent years at Motorola as its project manager. He joined Ittiam & Sling Media in their initial stages and helped build world-class products.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from IIT Kanpur in Electrical Engineering (1988-1992)
Industries: Education, Consumer Internet and Enterprise Software
Sanjay Mehta is co-founder and CEO of MAIA which is a business intelligence firm and is a well known name in entrepreneur circles. This is Mehta’s third venture; his first venture Bespoke Software Consultancy was a successful business in software but later ventured into other areas when he realised it was not scalable beyond a point. He also founded app development firm Globalware System & Software Solutions and steel trading exchange firm ispatudyog.com. He is an investor member with Mumbai Angels and Venture Nursery.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Shah & Anchor in Electronics (1988-1993) and is an alumnus of Indian School of Business
Startups Invested In: OYO Rooms, PrettySecrets, Klip.in, Talview, Unbxd, OrangeScape, Consure Medical, FabAlley, EcoSense Sustainable Solutions, Poncho.in
Industries: Clean Technology, Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software and HealthCare
Indus Khaitan is a senior director at Oracle. He exited his co-founded company Blitzer Mobile in late 2013. Previously he was a part of the seed accelerator The Morpheus where he got hands-on experience in starting companies, product development, technology evangelism and marketing & sales. Prior to Morpheus, he was the CTO of SezWho Inc., a social media infrastructure tools startup. He has held senior management and technology positions at Symantec, Outride (acquired by Google), Guru Worldwide, Mindware/NEC and VeriFone.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Birla Institute of Technology in Computer Science(1992-1996)
Industries: Mobile, Ecommerce, HealthCare, Information Technology and SaaS
Anirudh Damani is the owner of Artha Energy Resources which is an advisory firm that is focused on bringing new investment into the renewable power generation industry in India. The company has successfully added over 2Bn kWh worth of energy. He also co-founded Pioneer Energy Resources and exited it in 2012.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Austin College in Economics and Business Administration (2001-2005)
Industries: Clean Technology, Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software and B2B
Vikas Taneja is a partner and managing director with Boston Consulting Group and a leader in BCG’s technology, media and telecommunications practice. Earlier, he worked with the Information Technology Group of McKinsey & Co and as a venture capital associate with Arch Development Corporation where he was involved in assessing and funding early-stage organisations.
Educational Qualifications: Did his MBA with Honours in Economics and Finance from University of Chicago and received his Bachelors from Stanford University in Computer Systems Engineering.
Startups Invested In: Rapportive, PubNub, Disconnect, Founders Co-op, Coderbuddy, 500 Startups, Modria, Mashery, Refinery29, Inside Social
Industries: Analytics, Social Media, Information Technology and Clean Technology
Ajeet Khurana is the CEO of IIT Bombay’s SINE from past 5 months. He was a Member of the Board of Directors of Carve Niche Technologies. An active member of Mumbai Angels and also a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, he is known for overcoming financial and operational challenges of running education business networks and can wear the investor’s shoes as well as the entrepreneur’s hat. He is known to invest about ten thousand dollars in eight startups every year.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from University of Mumbai in Computer Engineering(1987-1991) and did his MBA from University of Texas at Austin in Business(1991-1993)
Startups Invested In: Rolocule Games, ShepHertz, Avaz, Carveniche Technologies, Maximojo, United Mobile Apps, Karmic Lifesciences, Carve Niche Technologies Pvt. Ltd., PickMe eSolutions
Industries: Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software, Ecommerce and Education
Anand Ladsariya is the CEO of Everest Flavours Ltd. . He is also involved in various social activities. He is ex-Chairman of CHEMEXCIL, an export promotion organisation established by Ministry of Commerce. Being an active Angel Investor with both Mumbai Angels and Indian Angel Network, he has invested in over 35 startups till date and actively mentors and guides the promoters to reach the next level. He is also a part of the “Committee on Angel Investment and Early Stage Venture Capital” which is guided by the Vice Chairman of Planning Commission.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Bombay University and did his MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad.
Industries: Location Based Services, Customer Support Tools, Content Discovery and Web Design
Utsav is a young tech and startup enthusiast. He is currently working in his family business and looking after it’s African expansion. He is looking out for new opportunities in Consumer Internet, Robotics, Fin & Edu-tech, Pharma, FMCG & Hi-tech Manufacturing. Startups with high-growth potential, driven by a dedicated team, addressing under-captured market excite him.
Educational Qualifications: Bachelors degree in Information Systems Management from Singapore Management University and a Masters in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from ESADE Business School Barcelona.
Startups Invested In: Testbook, AdpushUp, Zippr, FabBag & Shephertz.
Industries: Consumer Internet, Robotics, Fin & Edu-tech, Pharma, FMCG & Hi-tech Manufacturing.
Steven Sule is currently a partner at Naste Advisors, a Mumbai-based advisory firm. Prior to this, he worked as an associate Vice President at Euromax Capital. He started his career as an analyst at Yes Bank and went to London in 2011 where he worked in the same profile but at a larger scale.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Finance(2000-2004) and did his post graduation from Cass Business School in Banking & International Finance(2010-2010)
Startups Invested In: AdPushup, Kwench Library Solution, POSist, Aureus Analytics
Industries: Clean Technology, Consumer Internet & Enterprise Software
Arun Venkatachalam is the head of strategy & business development at Murugappa Group, a business conglomerate which is owned and run by Murugappa family. Arun always had an eye for witnessing cataclysmic events related to business which landed him first at Axis Capital where he worked as an analyst. Later, he worked at Lazard as an analyst in Mergers & Acquisitions which made him realise his inner calling and he went on to join the family business.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Lancaster University in Business Studies(2007-2010)
Industries: Consumer Internet, Health Care, SaaS and Enterprise Software
Sandeep Goenka is the co-founder and Jt-CEO of Zebpay, which is a Bitcoin mobile wallet that enables bitcoin transactions using mobile number without any hassles. He started the company with the aim of making bitcoin transactions as easy as instant messaging. He is also an active member of Indian Angel Network. He also co-founded Blynk Systems. All his jobs strengthened his inclination towards technology and software which puts him in an apt position as to where he is now.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from NMIMS in Commerce(1994-1996) and also has an Engineering Degree from De Montfort University(1996-1998). He did his MBA from SP Jain Institute of Management in Entrepreneurial Studies.
Industries: Consumer Internet, Big Data and SaaS
Previously, he started marketRx India, before it was acquired by Cognizant in a $135Mn transaction in 2007. He served as VP at Cognizant for 4 years. Before joining the VC industry, he was the founder and CTO of EZPower systems, which was acquired in 1998 by Oracle.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from IIT Delhi in Electrical Engineering(1983-1987) and did his MBA from A.B. Freeman School of Business(1987-1989)
Startups Invested In: He has advised/mentored several startups including Druva Software, JustMyNeighbour, Authbridge, and Power2SME. He was also managing investments for the first early stage fund in India, Infinity, which created companies like IndiaBulls, India Games and Avendus.
Industries: Consumer Internet
Ajay Lavakare serves as Managing Director of Risk Management Solutions. He co founded RMSI Private Limited in 1992 and served as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. He also served as Senior Vice President of RMS Data Solutions at Risk Management Solutions Inc. Prior to co-founding RMSI, he worked for two years as a software engineer with Kumagai Gumi Co. Ltd., in the company’s Information Systems division and in its Overseas Construction Contract Management division..
Educational Qualifications: Graduation from IIT Delhi in Civil Engineering(1983-1987) and has an MS from Stanford University in Structural Engineering(1987-1989)
Startups Invested In: InnovAccer
Industries: Big Data Analytics
Bhanu Chopra started his career at Deloitte Consulting serving several Fortune 500 companies in Chicago. He is currently the CEO of RateGain, a company he founded in 2004. Prior to setting up RateGain, he co-founded Riv Consulting. He started RateGain in response to the increasing popularity of Online travel agencies like Expedia and Orbitz in the west, when he identified the business need of these OTAs to compare rates across their competitor websites.
Educational Qualifications: Has a double bachelors degree in Computer Science and Finance from Indiana University
Industries: Travel Technology, Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing
Girish Mathrubootham is founder and CEO of Freshdesk which is a cloud-based customer support platform that enables companies to provide customer service. The company was inspired from a comment on a Hacker News Post in 2010 which made him leave his job at AdventNet where he worked for 9 years.
Educational Qualifications: Did his Engineering in Electronics from Shanmugha Research Academy(1992-1996) and MBA from University of Madras in Marketing(1996-1998).
Industries: Consumer Internet, Enterprise Software and SaaS
Amit Somani is an Advisory Board Member and Chief Products Officer for MakeMyTrip, heading the online product portfolio along with User Experience and Content. He has worked with Google and IBM where he was the head of Mobile Products for Google in Asia-Pacific region and Director for the Enterprise Search and Discovery business at IBM based out of California.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from IIT Varanasi in Computer Science(1989-1993) Engineering and did his MS in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin(1993-1995)
Industries: Consumer Internet and Mobile Companies
Educational Qualifications: IIT Delhi Passout (2007)
Startups Invested In: ShaadiSaga, Tripoto, Grownout and others
Industries: Consumer Internet
Vivek Bihani is the CEO at Bedrock Ventures. Earlier, he worked at ICICI Ventures which included generating deal flow, evaluating business plans, structuring deals and making equity investments; adding value to investments by helping investee companies recruit senior executives. As an entrepreneur, he has helped drive the growth at Magic Software Private Limited, an eLearning company that helps global publishers build education software products.
Educational Qualifications: Graduated from Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Chemical Engineering(1983-1987) and did his MBA from IIM-Bangalore in Business Management(1990-1992)
Ankur is the Head of Groupon India and an angel Investor in Internet and Technology Startups. He was also co-founder at Accentium Web (Gaadi.com SecondShaadi.com)
Educational Qualifications: MBA Graduate from the Indian School of Business and Master’s of Science from Michigan State University
Startups Invested In: Targeting Mantra, Limetray among others.
Industries: Internet and Technology Startups
This list is compiled on the basis of the details of the investments and investors that were publicly available and that surfaced in our research. We will keep on updating this lists with more investors as we get inputs from the ecosystem.
If we missed out on any, do let us know in the comments below.
We’ll keep adding more to this list
This is part of our special series, In Focus: Starting Up In India, in which we focus on the essentials every entrepreneur must know about starting up in India. Stay tuned for a comprehensive list of startup incubators in India coming later this week.