Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Ishan Singh, Member, Mumbai Angels Network in conversation with Sachin Karnik, President Mumbai Angels Network

Sachin Karnik :

1) Hello Ishan, Thanks for taking the time out for this Interview. You have been a Mumbai Angels Network Member for a long time and known to be a practical, tough yet reasonable , hands-on Deal Lead.Your questions during the showcase indicate the studiousness with which you approach a domain.  How has your journey been so far ?

Ishan Singh:
Hi! Sachin, Good to meet you in this forum.  I have been in this eco system for 20 years and today is as exciting as the time 20 years ago when I started my first business in 1997 in New York.

Let me share a story with you- in 1995 in my MBA entrepreneurship class I got on of the lowest grades in- partially as my profession thought ecommerce was not sustainable, but also as he righty pointed out that I had not thought through the cost of logistics and delivery. This is still the issue, so many entrepreneurs do not factor in while starting a business. 

I started a Fin tech consulting firm in New York in 1998 – that same year I invested $100,000 from profits in eRSVP.com an online ticketing and event management firm set up by someone who worked for me and I assumed the role of interim CEO to help them raise $1m at $5m post money valuation.  Unfortunately, that company flatlined due to internal management issues that came up once the market tanked in 2000.  This was a very powerful lesson for me.

More recently, since 2015, of the 9 angel investmentsI have made, 7 are doing well and these are the ones where I was took interest in what was going on - with what the founders were doing, they key client wins, tactics being used to grow the business, plan Vs. Actual etc.This has taught me that there is a need to work closely with first time founders. 

That is why they come to seasoned investors/ business people like me to be investors & mentors. We look at the forest, not the trees and that is the value add we bring to the table.



Sachin Karnik :

2) I am sure the readers will be curious to know about the Turn-Around and growth Strategies you have recommended to Start-ups you have been a Deal Lead and Board Rep for.

Ishan Singh:

Well, hopefully we don’t need to come to a turnaround stage!

It is most important that a start-uprealises what problem they are solving and is it a problem that needs to be solved- will people pay for it- one needs to be able to demonstrate traction and revenue for that idea/ business. 

People often forget the goal at this stage of the business - it is to demonstrate that the business model is viable so that they can raise another round for expansion later.  So, focus is very important.  

Sachin Karnik :

3) Has the experience of working so closely with the Founders been enriching and rewarding for you?

Ishan Singh:

Yes, I has I love the enthusiasm and passion entrepreneurs bring to the table. Working with several at the same time allows me to leverage key learning from one to the other and this helps problem solve better – for examples best practices in social media marketing

Sachin Karnik :

4) Did interaction with other MA members help especially when Founders feel having too many Angel Investors on Cap Table is a tough act to manage?

Ishan Singh:

Sachin, the way MA invests, there is only one or two people on the board, so from the founder’s perspective he has the whole network to help, but he/ she is only interacting with one or two people daily.   So, it is not tough to manage

Sachin Karnik :

5) What kind of Start-ups or sectors will catch your attention and Investment dollars in 2018. Would you like to share a sneak preview of your investment thesis for 2018?

Ishan Singh:

My primary investment thesis remains the same. – I am looking for someone honest, sincere, and intelligent who is willing to work hard and is solving a problem.   I firmly believe, especially in the Indian context, execution is the key.

I do believe in Thematic investing- for example the investment in WE DO Sky which is a data sciencecompanyusingdrone’s is a great example of a sector with a great future.  

This year, I want to look atsustainability and use of sustainable materials in everyday use- constriction and fashion and at low cost medical devices for rural / home markets.

Sachin Karnik :

6) Any word of advice for fellow Angel Investors and Founders?

Ishan Singh:

Dream big, but keep it simple.  Keep it real and walk before you run. 

No comments:

Post a Comment