Ecommerce, Investments

“There is clearly some irrational investment exuberance in digital markets today” – AngelPrime

Indian ecommerce industry has seen the unprecedented faith of investors including VCs, PEs and seed funds from quite some time, however business incubation firms such as Angel Prime, that launched  last month has quite broad vision to incubate entrepreneurs to convert ideas into successful businesses. While seed and Angel Funds invest capital and perhaps provide some advise, AngelPrime takes on a very hands on role in addition to capital. Talking more about Angel Prime, iamwire caught up with founders of Angel Prime (Sanjay Swamy, Shripati Acharya and Bala Parthasarathy). Here are the excerpts of the interview.

What AnglePrime is all about? How it is different from Seed and Angle funding?

AngelPrime is a unique type of business accelerator/incubator that works with entrepreneurs to convert ideas into successful businesses. While seed and Angel Funds invest capital and perhaps provide some advise, AngelPrime takes on a very hands on role in addition to capital. Entrepreneurs work at the AngelPrime facilities, co-ideate, prototype, validate and build out products and teams.

How do you term the recent exuberance in terms of funding and valuations in online business in India? Is it a bubble or golden ball?

While there is clearly some amount of irrational exuberance in the markets today, in some segments like ecommerce, there is no doubt that many of the leaders are seeing real revenue and customer traction. It is not all vapour like it was, say in the dotcom bubble where there were plenty of eyeballs but no real revenue. The leaders will see good exits in their segments. Whether every company will see the same is less clear.

Name some of the companies AngelPrime is showing interest or in process to fund? What numbers of start ups you look to incubate initially?

Our companies are currently in stealth mode. We are looking to incubate 2-4 startups every year.

 Which are people on the mentor board of AngelPrime?

AngelPrime as three founders – Sanjay Swamy, Shripati Acharya and Bala Parthasarathy. There are a number of other leading technologists and business leaders who act as advisors to the companies in their specific areas of expertise.

What kind of resources and infrastructures AngelPrime have for business incubation? 

While AngelPrime provides state While AngelPrime provides statethe-art office space, telecom infrastructure, accounting and legal services, etc, AngelPrime is not an infrastructure provider.  In order to be an AngelPrime company, the involvement has to be very deep and has to start early, at the ideation stage.

According to you, what are the existing gaps between start ups (including entrepreneurs) and VCs, Angles and any other seed funding or financial institutions in Indian Digital ecosystem?

We find that many entrepreneurs, especially engineers, have deep technical expertise and a lot of passion but very little sense of how to turn ideas into saleable products, build out teams and market their businesses. This requires a deep involvement on a day to day basis, often building out or playing the role of missing functions, say marketing for example. A typical VC model does not support such involvement and hence they tend to look at teams or companies that have already passed this stage. At AngelPrime, we help entrepreneurs at this stage to get them ready to engage with VCs, in the process increasing their valuations.

Define what sorts of major roles you would be playing in start ups AngelPrime would fund?

Starting with co-ideating with the entrepreneurs, we help build rapid prototypes, validate/pivot the ideas, develop business/marketing/operational plans, hire the missing team members, launch and get customers, build up the revenue and help raise subsequent rounds of financing.

What investment opportunities Angel Prime sees in current Digiatl landscape in India?

Though it’s getting crowded, we see huge opportunities in mobile payments, ecommerce and smartphone/tablet based applications.

Throw some light on what parameters and qualities AngelPrime would be looking in start ups you fund?

We are looking for highly technical and passionate engineers who want to change the world by building startups – non-technical people are welcome too but they must have a deep skills in either marketing, business development and either have been a CEO of a startup (or really want to be one), in our areas of interest.

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