Interview of Sanjay Budhwar-Angel Investor
He is a BE (EEE) from BIT, Mesra (1987) & MBA (Tech Management) from Univ of Phoenix (2004) with 30 years of work experience in the Semi industry.
What is your investing philosophy?
Look for entrepreneurs with drive & energy: someone who is willing to give up short term gains for longer-term goals/vision.
What has been the most important investing lesson you have learned so far?
Still early for me in my investing career, but one thing I have learned in life is to always look at the bigger picture – keep moving in the right direction, small obstacles/detours will come and go.
Which has been your best investment to date?
Still early days for me, time will tell.
Can you share any investing mistakes that you made and the lessons we can learn from it?
I keep coming back to this theme – invest for the long term. I did try to make a quick buck a few times in the past, which did not pan out as expected.
Is there any particular investor or author who has had a significant influence on your investment thinking?
Warren Buffet has been a guiding light for many investors, & I too look up to him, particularly for his long term vision.
What would be your advice to Entrepreneurs seeking funds?
This is an ages-old cliché – success is 99% perspiration. Keep your focus on the idea & work hard. Sooner or later, some Angel investors will see the light in your eyes.
Do you invest in specific sectors? If yes, then which are the sectors?
So far, my few investments have been in the FinTech space, simply because of the vast market opportunity in India. The UPI infrastructure setup by GoI has been a real game-changer and helped India leapfrog even advanced economies in digital payments. The real benefits of this change will accrue to the overall economy in the years ahead.
What is your outlook for the present startup ecosystem in India?
It has grown to be quite robust, despite the lack of clarity in the legal & taxation space. The Angel investing/startup ethos is permeating into Tier II/Tier III cities slowly, and I am sure if the Govt comes out with positive taxation guidelines, this could help make India into a world-leading ecosystem for startups.
According to you what is more important (Team, Idea, Traction, etc.)?
For me, it is always the team that comes first, followed closely by the idea. If these two things are in place, rest will follow.
According to you what is the perfect time for a startup to raise funds?
There is no perfect time, as there are many variables that impact this issue. Bootstrap funding from friends & family/burn rate/growth trajectory/etc all come into the picture here. As a general guideline, it is always better to try and raise funds earlier than later.
What is the value add that a founder gets, along with your investment?
I have not been an entrepreneur myself, so I don’t have many of the answers that they are looking for. But I do help in general management and during the hiring process for key people, besides sorting out any issues related to technology.
Would you like to share any of your recent investments and why did you select them?
It is still early in my investing journey, I am looking at few ideas in technology &education space beside one investment in FinTech.
Answer in one line:
Share your original quote: Not my original but something that is dear to me – the early bird catches the worm
First 3 slides that you look in a Pitch Deck (in serial order): Team/Idea/business model
How would you define Startup: A business idea whose time has come
What are the attributes of an Entrepreneur: Drive-vision-self-belief
What are your views about StartupLanes?
StartupLanes is doing a great job in getting news & developments related to entrepreneurs & the startup ecosystem in one place for easy access. I wish them a long & successful journey ahead.