Deepak Shahdadpuri, managing director and founder of DSG Consumer Partners (DSGCP), is not your average venture capitalist. In a world obsessed with technology, he doesn’t care much for it. But that hasn’t stopped him from making successful investments in some of the biggest and most promising Indian tech startups including the likes of OYO, Zipdial (sold to Twitter), and Cleartrip.
As part of the Moneyball series, in which we talk to the top investors in the country to get their views and insights on the hot sectors in the Indian startup ecosystem, Inc42 caught up with Deepak Shahdadpuri this week.
His investment company, DSGCP, was launched in 2012 and is headquartered in Singapore. It has more than $100 Mn under management and 37 companies in its portfolio. Deepak has experience of successfully scaling brands like Sula — growing it from having a 2% share in the Indian wine market to a market leader with 60% dominance. He has more than 16 years of experience in private equity and has worked with the likes of Reuters Venture Capital, Bain & Company, and Ernst & Young.
Deepak just focuses on building consumer brands, he says. According to him, technology advancement has enabled companies to move away from traditional modes of marketing through print and broadcast to devising customised and targeted marketing strategies based on consumer likes, dislikes, habits, consumption patterns, and other data.
He says that Millennials don’t know of a life minus technology — they have grown up with mobile phones and smartphones and the internet, and companies can’t sell generic products to them. They are also likely to ask why there is no specific product category for people like them. A lactose intolerant consumer who wants a non-dairy equivalent of milk is representative of this evolution in consumption behaviour.
Legacy players and big, established brands still haven’t gotten used to the new rules, says Deepak, adding that they will take a long time to get to a place where they can cater to such niche demands.