Startups
For Asha, Hyderabad is front runner, but she is also seriously looking at startups in Gurgaon, Delhi and Pune by partnering with local investors and entities.

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad saw not only entrepreneurs but also investors from across the globe. One such prominent Silicon Valley-based investor was Asha Jadeja Motwani.

Much like most attendees of GES 2017, Asha was quite impressed with the startup scene in India, which according to her, has matured a lot over the last two years. “I haven’t seen this kind of explosion in growth and quality of startups anywhere,” she added.

Betting big on the innovation and startups in India, Asha is looking to aggressively invest in Indian startups.

Asha, whose portfolio includes big names such as PayPal, Pinterest and AppDynamics, is an angel investor, who typically invests in for-profit tech, internet and high social impact start-ups.

“I expect to be investing in Indian startups pretty aggressively and working with venture capitalists, angels and innovation hubs to get some support on backend services like due diligence, etc.,” she said.

Sectors

While she is sector agnostic, she says it depends on what the startup is doing. “If you want to have an impact, then you should invest in indigenous tech but if you’re looking to have billion dollar valuation, then it has to be an internet company,” she added.

However, her focus will be on B2C startups. “B2B is not my area of expertise. Typically, I find that sales in B2B is difficult. It takes time to close sales, sometimes as long as 18 months. It might be changing now, but I’ve never invested in B2B,” she said.

Much like the focus of GES 2017, Asha also is looking more at startups run by women, with more and more women-run enterprises coming up thanks to women becoming more confident with more resources available.

For investors, she says, women entrepreneurs are a less risky bet as they tend to be more diligent, detail oriented, have good management styles and are collaborative in team building. “For me as a VC, to have a woman head a company is much easier as I can rely on her much more than anyone else,” she added.

Being an individual investor, Asha is only looking at seed investments. And the size of the investment also varies a lot. It depends on what the startup does and what stage the company is in. In the past, Asha has made investments as small as Rs 25,000 dollars and as high as million dollars.

And in terms of which cities look brightest, Asha says Hyderabad is at the cutting edge and is making the most of Bangalore being in a grid lock. Hence for Asha, Hyderabad is front runner. She is looking to partner with incubators such as T-Hub in Hyderabad to invest in startups.

Apart from Hyderabad, Asha says that she is seriously looking at Gurgaon, Delhi and Pune, which have excellent startups coming out of there.

In the recent past, Asha has invested in startups such as Katha, Saral Designs from IIT Mumbai, EduisFun and more. She is also looking at online meat startup FreshToHome. Asha has set up a small fund in IIT Kanpur, exclusively for startups coming out of there.

“I’m looking forward to collaborating with local entities and being there for young Indian entrepreneurs,” Asha says.