Now startup funding coming from within the country, says Kasmalkar at Pune startup masterclass
The first panel discussion during the Startup Master Class (SMC) 2019 was held on how to raise funds for startups. Gireendra Kasmalkar, Alacrity India Fund; Rohit Goyal, Windrose Capital; Vishal Vijayvargiya, Brand Capital; Piyush Surana, Tomorrow Capital; Vaibhav Domkundwar, Better Capital and Manish Kumar, GREX were the panellists who gave tips on what startups can do to raise their first seed fund. Avril Bhatnagar of Guid was the moderator.
Kasmalkar felt that seed funding has evolved in India. “Earlier funding for startups was done from outside the country, but now you see many from within the country. These are not only from the metros, but even investors from smaller towns like Nagpur, Nashik, Hubli and Indore are showing a keen interest in equity as an asset class.”
Goyal said, “In the early days, Pune had zero fund houses focused on the city. I was told it was better to have our office set up in Mumbai. But if anyone did their homework they would have realised that Pune has enough HNIs (high net worth individual) and was an education and software hub that gave enough talent. It had all the ingredients to make it a startup destination. So, we set up shop in Pune.”
Vijayvargiya felt that in the early days Pune didn’t respond well. It lacked the ecosystem to facilitate startups. “I think it was under-appreciated. But with two of the three unicorns of India being Pune-based, I think the time has come for us all to do more. I firmly believe that we should meet more often, understand the ecosystem better so our startups can thrive,” he added.
According to Domkundwar, the quality of startups has improved vastly now attracting global fund houses like Tiger, Y Combinator among others.
Surana said, “Because of better information available, founders are now more aware of their rights and have learnt to ask the VC the right questions.”