Anup Jain, the newly appointed managing partner at Mumbai-based venture capital firm Orios Venture Partners, likes taking risks. If you don\u2019t take risks, you can\u2019t really come up with an innovation or idea that is perceptibly new and not just incremental, he believes.\r\n\r\nThis is true \u2014 the biggest risks result in the biggest payoffs. For instance, Benchmark Capital\u2019s early bet on Snapchat in 2013 when it wasn\u2019t clear whether it would be a serious social media company paid off beautifully. The VC firm, which led the Series A round that raised $13.5 Mn for the company, raked in a neat $3.2 Bn when Snapchat went public in 2017!\r\n\r\nGoing by Anup Jain\u2019s previous career roles \u2014 he\u2019s led big teams and handled large-scale finances at companies such as Bata, the family-owned global footwear maker \u2014 one wouldn\u2019t imagine he had such a risk-taking appetite. He concurs that the propensity of most big companies and legacy enterprises for taking risks is subdued.\r\n\r\nBut Jain explains that notwithstanding the companies he\u2019s worked with, he as an individual is not averse to risks at all. In fact, the thought of fuelling an innovative idea to make something of it excites him and he always had the desire to mentor and scale startups. So, in 2015, he acted on his passion and became an angel investor with his own company Redback Advisory Services, which provided startups access to growth opportunities, networks for partnerships, and growth capital through strategy advisory.\r\n\r\nWith Anup Jain joining Orios last year as a venture partner and with his new role, we can expect some exciting deals in the FMCG and retail space, where he will be leading investments.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nInc42 spoke to Jain about his focus areas at Orios Venture Partners, his journey, his risk-taking appetite, and wherein FMCG and retail he sees the next opportunities.\r\n\r\nInc42: What do you make of the market today and what does it mean for Indian startups?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: The first wave of the Internet was about a handful of consumers, now it\u2019s becoming more inclusive. This has given birth to a whole generation of digital-first brands that don\u2019t need to depend on the past methods of a classic FMCG company, which used to launch products through a web of distributors, wholesalers, and kirana shops and promoted products to consumers via an expensive television-led media plan. Today, because of the Internet, young founders and startups can disrupt larger players by catering to the needs of large clusters and groups of consumers.\r\n\r\nInc42: But what does this mean in terms of opportunities?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: After the retail slowdown of 2013-14, the economy is showing really healthy signs. The number of digitally transacting customers over a period of three years has doubled in India.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWe have the fourth-largest population of millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region, growing at 34%, which means that there are large clusters of Indian consumers who in the past had no choice but to purchase sub-standard premium products or mass-market goods. Let\u2019s take the example of sports shoes: There is a large gap that\u2019s waiting to be met between premium and affordable shoes \u2014 some are priced at over INR 5,000 and the affordable ones at around INR 1,000. Today, whether it\u2019s beauty and wellness, beverages, snacks, biscuits, or oils, literally every sphere of FMCG consumption is open to disruption, with products that are tilted around certain axils.\r\n\r\nInc42: Could you clarify what are the factors influencing this tilt?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: With the advent of more and more awareness around ingredients and what they mean for you, consumers are becoming very conscious about what goes into the products they\u2019re buying. Healthier and more natural products are finding their way to the shelves and when I say shelves, I mean e-shelves. Consumers are getting to know these products not on a supermarket shelf first but on a virtual shelf.\r\n\r\nToday, consumers are actively involved in their health planning and are able to reach these brands directly, which means that younger startups which are short on capital no longer need to go through the expensive supply chain and can become popular overnight. The celebrity endorsement era is no longer a mantra for success.\r\nA rising tide of consumers \u2014 I would peg them at least 20 Mn \u2014 out of a total of 50 Mn make their own choices and make purchases on an informed basis rather than blindly.\r\nInc42: Where do you think this desire to mentor startups come to you from?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain:\u00a0While I\u2019ve spent almost all my career in the corporate sector, I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. I like taking risks and I respect those who take risks because without risk anything new never really comes out which is perceptibly new and not incremental. Investing and mentoring startups was a perfect option to stimulate me. Orios, which I joined in October last year, is a move intended at further strengthening these goals.\r\n\r\nInc42: Can you talk about your investments in startups prior to joining Orios?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: Yes, I have worked in four different spaces \u2014 agritech, HRTech, B2B tech, and digital media startup. I don\u2019t invest in them anymore since I joined Orios. My agritech startup, Junga FreshnGreen is going to produce premium vegetables via soil-less farming. The B2B startup, Letzgain is a Linkedin for small business owners.\r\n\r\nThe media company, Wittyfeed, is a user-generated publishing platform \u2014 is already one of the largest online companies in India. The HRTech startup, XecuteHR, was struggling with stagnant growth earlier, but after a period of transformation, which I helped with, the startup is growing at 40%; it should end this year with revenues touching INR 100 Cr versus INR 50 Cr three years ago. Orios was the next logical step for me to widen the horizon and deepen my participation and ties in the Indian startup ecosystem.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nInc42: What is Orios\u2019 approach to startups?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: We have always been known for being good at finding misfits and backing them. We continuously throng our internal team to reach out to founders in various ecosystems. Whether it be incubators, college networks, or social media, we have a special process of finding these misfits, and our own personal network as well. The magic formula lies in providing right mentorships to these companies, with R&D, consumer-testing, and digital marketing being our experienced skill sets. For instance, Country Delight is a fresh milk company which processes fresh milk from the farms and ensures its supply to your home in three days. The other existing brands are not able to reach you in three times that duration.\r\nThe tea and coffee business is on our radar and we find that consumers of conventional popular brands pick up tea and coffee six months after production, so the products can\u2019t retain their fresh aroma. These are the kind of benefits consumers are looking for in products and, thus, the era of artisanal products has begun.\r\nInc42: Can you give us some metrics of your investment approach?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: We take a minimum of 15% in the seed stage and our typical seed fund invests in the sub-$1 Mn mark. The startups are given time to blossom into their full potential \u2014 we look at an at least five-year horizon before we start exploring any kind of exit.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nInc42: What challenges do you face in the FMCG space?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: To be able to find the right set of entrepreneurs who can create value and stay motivated through the journey \u2014 this is half the battle. In the FMCG industry, the presence of supply chain is extremely complex when it comes to distributing the product. A lot of convincing goes into getting the trade layers in place and in getting mom-pop or kirana stores to stock your products and try them out.\r\nMany people earlier didn\u2019t take the entrepreneur route in FMCG \u2014 IT was the preferred choice for entrepreneurship. But this is changing.\r\nInc42: The products you talk about seem a bit niche at the moment. Don\u2019t you face any problems in scaling them?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: It is difficult when you are catering to small demands and managing the margins in terms of cost at this stage. That\u2019s where we come in; with our resources and experience, these startups get more runway and information to test their products and to find that sweet spot in pricing.\r\nRapid Fire\r\nInc42: Your tips for people looking to pitch?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: Be clear on what problem you are looking to solve, the market size in which you\u2019re operating, put a good team together, and have a good plan for executing and testing it. Be ready to tell a good story well.\r\n\r\nInc42: What does a typical week look like for you?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: I travel 10-15 days in a month, typically between Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. I watch a lot of my favourite TV shows on the phone and watch it while traveling on the flight.\r\n\r\nInc42: What are you reading\/watching at the moment?\r\n\r\nAnup Jain: I read content, both of personal and professional interest, on social media. I am currently watching the Netflix series Line of Duty, which has a story with a very thorough line of enquiry in how they go about finding their way to the bottom of the crime, which really appeals to my analytical and problem-solving mind.\r\nA New-Age Solution Keeping In Mind Changing Consumption Behaviour\r\nWhile talking to Jain a unique pattern emerges \u2014 he is no traditionalist by any means. The startups he has previously invested in and the solutions he seeks to explore are what could be termed, from a millennial point of view, wherein consumers are more ingredient conscious, they seek natural products, and want more control over what and how they buy. An early riser, he is up by 6- 6:30 and works out three days in a week.\r\n\r\nAs an indication to how he is personally driven by this desire, Jain also mentions that he recently cut the cord earlier on the day of this interview (the term cord cutting refers to the global trend of consumers cancelling television subscriptions). \u201cI am personally ready to redefine the way I live and work.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis article is part of Inc42\u2019s latest series, MoneyBall \u2013 Get up close and personal with the pioneers of the investment world. Dive in to find out about what excites them, their views on the latest technology & investment trends and what the future looks like from their viewpoint, explore more such stories here.