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Interview of Navin Surya: Investor & Mentor

Interview of Navin Surya: Investor & Mentor

He is an Entrepreneur, Investor, Mentor, Advisory, Tech and Fintech Industry Thought Leader and someone who believes in shared success for all stakeholders.

What is your investing philosophy?

I look for a combination of Innovation+Execution Capability+Experience of Founders or Founding team.

What has been the most important investing lesson you have learned so far?

Working with experienced entrepreneurs or professionals is a better utilization of my time and money versus a first-time entrepreneur and with no professional experience.

Which has been your best investment to date?

Difficult to name just one, some of these are FPL Technologies, Astute Energy, ACSZ, and recent one Zimyo.

Can you share any investing mistakes that you made and the lessons we can learn from it?

It is very important to like the company and the team that you invest in, just the possibility of creating higher value or returns is not good enough.

Is there any particular investor or author who has had a significant influence on your investment thinking? 

I admire Avnish Bajaj of Matrix Partners and his approach and philosophy of investing.

What would be your advice to Entrepreneurs seeking funds?

Homework and research in whatever one talks are very critical. Be very clear why do you need the money, how much and how you would use the same? This means one needs to be thorough about their Target Market and Execution plan and not just a paper plan and excel financial plan.

Do you invest in specific sectors? If yes, then which are the sectors?

Largely Tech and Fintechs spread over themes of IoT, Blockchain, Digital Credit, AI/ML/Robotics. It could be B2B or B2C or B2B2C.

What is your outlook for the present startup ecosystem in India?

Extremely positive. Never seen better times for the startup ecosystem in India than the present.

According to you what is more important (Team, Idea, Traction, etc.)?

Idea+Founder/Leader+Execution Plan.

According to you what is the perfect time for a startup to raise funds?

No single silver bullet but it’s directly linked to work in hand and money required to execute the same. These days it’s possible to raise funds at different stages of the business from the idea stage (from Friends & Family to Angels) to growth stage (Venture Capital) to scale stage (Venture Capital & Private Equity Firms) and finally preparing for Exit (IPO and/or M&A). One can use these options at different times.

What is the value add that a founder gets, along with your investment?

Market Trust & Credibility to improve organization standing, Experience to scale, Network across Eco-system to grow rapidly, and of course money which comes the last in the benefits.

Would you like to share any of your recent investments and why did you select them?

The last two were Zimyo and Acsz. Each of my investments of approximately 10 companies over the last 2 years is an interesting story. Maybe a different interview required for that. But in general, they have the key ingredients of my investment philosophy and believe they would be one of the most successful companies in their sector.

Answer in one line

Share your original quote: ‘My business if my favorite Hobby’.

First 3 slides that you look in a Pitch Deck (in serial order): Founders, Target Market, Product/Service Proposition.

How would you define Startup: Any company that needs to reinvent itself continuously.

What are the attributes of an Entrepreneur: Someone who can thrive in uncertainty.

What are your views about StartupLanes?

Looks interesting, just got introduced to StartupLanes.

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