In a world where startups are reaching new heights every day and young talent driving many businesses, the future looks bright in the business world. For people who are new to the business world, investors will play a key role in helping them and boosting their growth.
Beginning his career as a public sector banker around a decade ago, Mr. Kumar Gaurav has led multiple initiatives in financial inclusion, MSME Credit, and trade finance and he is now the COO of Indian Healthcare Angels. IHA is a platform powered by BIORx Venture Advisors, enabling access to capital and strategic mentors to early-stage healthcare startups.
With team Sociobits, Mr. Kumar Gaurav shared the qualities that he looks for in founders and startups before investing in them:
Team Sociobits: What do you think of the future of startup culture globally?
Kumar Gaurav: I believe that in the current scenario, startups have already become mainstream. They are making an impact globally, they are attracting some of the best talents in the world, and now we can see that some of the developing nations in different continents are also catching up with the startup culture.
This is going to be a global phenomenon and I see startups driving the global economy forward and not just trying to make an impact but spearheading its growth. I think startups are going to create this atmosphere pretty soon.
They are making an impact globally, they are attracting some of the best talents in the world, and now we can see that some of the developing nations in different continents are also catching up with the startup culture.
Team Sociobits: Is there anything that we can do to develop or boost the startup ecosystem?
Kumar Gaurav: Definitely. In my opinion, there are adequate funds available for startups but startups do not just need monetary support for growth. They need a supportive ecosystem to develop and grow. Although support can come from any corner, investors should also take responsibility to mentor startups. They should support them with strategic partnerships, experience, mentoring, helping with leadership hiring, etc. this is something that will help the startup ecosystem a lot more.
Team Sociobits: How important do you think is the role of a mentor for a startup?
Kumar Gaurav: In a startup’s life, important decisions or pivots are taken every day or every week. So, it becomes very important for startups to have very good advisors and mentors who they can rely on and always reach out to. As I mentioned before, a mentor’s role is very important especially when the founders are very young because they are so engrossed in their business that sometimes they are not well aware of what is happening in the world and that’s where the mentors pitch in.
I am not saying that a mentor should entirely drive the game but there are some critical decisions that mentors, especially investor-mentors who have some skin in the game should guide in. Again, not that mentors should take all the decisions for the startup, the last say should always be of the founder.
Team Sociobits: Is there any advice that you would like to give to budding entrepreneurs who are looking to raise funds?
Kumar Gaurav: The first piece of advice is to raise funds only as much as you need. It is very important for you to be aware of how much money you actually need to be able to reach from one point to another. So, that there is no leakage from the beginning. Second, when you are raising funds, you are giving equity and equity holds real value so you should spend it wisely.
It is very important for you to be aware of how much money you actually need to be able to reach from one point to another.
Team Sociobits: Could you point out a few things that you have learnt in your investing journey?
Kumar Gaurav: I’ll keep this one short. I come across so many startups and I believe that all ideas are good. It is the execution that matters. This is one thing that I have learned in the last two years or so, Today I am more focussed on how this idea will fare in the market and does the team have it in them to execute it.
Team Sociobits: What is the easiest and toughest thing about being an investor?
Kumar Gaurav: So, as an investor, you get to see a lot of startups, and if you are someone who likes the space that’s a good thing. Sometimes at IHA, we get to see 4-5 startups in a day but the tough part is to figure out which one we really want. We have the thesis sorted out, and we know what we need but identifying the startup that is perfect for our thesis is the hard part.
Team Sociobits: Could you point out some of the common mistakes that businesses make while pitching to investors?
Kumar Gaurav: See, an investor always does their homework and they know about the sector. So, startups don’t need to oversell themselves, especially with future projections. They shouldn’t overcommit because this can backfire and a pitch is something where you are looking to make the best impression in a limited time frame and that enthusiasm can get the better of you at times. This is not a bad thing but you have to be precise, talk to the point, highlight your strengths, and talk about what you can achieve, and the impact you can create but don’t oversell.
They shouldn’t overcommit because this can backfire and a pitch is something where you are looking to make the best impression in a limited time frame and that enthusiasm can get the better of you at times.
Team Sociobits: How do you spot a good founder?
Kumar Gaurav: So like I mentioned earlier, all the ideas are good but it is the execution that is important and this will be done by the founders and the team that has been built by the founders.
Let me put it this way, founders are working very hard & are very passionate about what they are building. We try to find out how self-aware they are, do they only talk about their strengths or are they also aware of the risks involved or what the competition is doing, have they done their homework well, are they ready with the data, will they be flexible with the needs of the business, etc. These are the initial indicators and obviously, you can’t gauge everything in the first meet/call but these are some of the traits that we look out for which give us the idea.
Team Sociobits: What are some of the red flags that you have faced when startups pitch in front of you?
Kumar Gaurav: Every investor, in fact, every individual has their own thesis and there should be an individual thesis that someone has on investing. You should not invest in someone else’s investing theory. You have to build it yourself and in our case, it is pretty simple; the startup should fit into the IHA thesis. As a company, we know where our domain expertise lies. We simply don’t come in with capital, we come in with industry knowledge. So, I would say no red flags as such, but there are some checkboxes to be checked.
We simply don’t come in with capital, we come in with industry knowledge.
Team Sociobits: How can startups reach you?
Kumar Gaurav: Simply log on to www.iha.vc and reach any of our team members or email us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Investors like Kumar Gaurav always weigh in with valuable insights that startups can apply before they pitch in front of investors and look for funding. As an investor, one can make sure that he/she tries to develop a growth ecosystem for startups instead of just bringing monetary benefits to the table. He can be reached at email@example.com