Angel Investing — S1E1 “Finding a Purpose”

  • Ever wondered, Why do you invest in startups? What are you expecting from it?

  • This week, we have a guest writer on our platform! Kiran Karthik, an active investor with 20+ startups in the last year, across multiple sectors like FinTech, Blockchain, D2C, Gaming, Edtech, and Media.

  • In this article, he brings out the unwavering questions that every investor has right before signing their cheques.

    Read on to find out!

I’m a 34 year old with more than a decade of work experience across startups like Flipkart and udaan as well as global behemoths like Amazon and GlaxoSmithKline

I have an active interest in investing in and contributing to the startup ecosystem and I have invested in 20+ startups in the last year, across multiple sectors like FinTech, Blockchain, D2C, Gaming, Edtech and Media.

In this series of posts, I will be writing about:

1. What drove me to explore Angel Investing?

2. How to get started as an Angel Investor?

3. My frameworks and learnings from my journey of investing in 20+ startups over the last year

S1E1 “Finding a Purpose”

Sep 5th, 2020 — I remember the moment, distinctly.

As I clicked the "Submit" button to transfer funds for my very first angel investment, a rush of conflicting emotions swept through me — anxiety, excitement, self-doubt and confidence, all at once. Here I was, signing a fairly large sized cheque (for me), giving my hard-earned money to a team of complete strangers, without yet having a robust framework on purpose or outcome.

Even as I did this with wavering conviction, a few large questions remained:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • What am I expecting out of this?

While this click took one second, the journey that led to this was a decade long.

My tryst with the fledgling Bangalore startup ecosystem started in 2011 with my first role at Flipkart. What followed was a 5 year stint, which was life-changing in every conceivable way — professionally, personally and financially. That said, I still believe I could have done a lot more with the right mindset:

  • Investor Mindset — Optimizing for ESOPs over Cash
  • Ecosystem Mindset — Partnering with startup founders emerging from the Flipkart ecosystem and identifying ways to contribute to them

A year later, from this first investment, I now have a reasonable sense on both of the above questions. So, why am I doing this and what am I expecting from this?

  • How do I keep myself updated with the latest disruptions and opportunities?
  • With my rich experience and network in B2C and B2B e-commerce, how can I make myself more useful to startup founders solving complex problems, at scale?
  • While I haven’t taken the starting-up plunge myself yet, can I experience this vicariously through the network of startups and founders that I am involved with?
  • From a long term career perspective, is this an area that appeals to me and helps me find purpose? An intersection of investing and contributing.
  • Wealth Generation — I have now built a portfolio spanning across equity, real estate, ESOPs etc. Can I now add a small percentage of my wealth in a high-risk asset class while being an active participant?

In the last 12 months of investing and working with 20+ startups, I believe I have been able to help founders in a few areas — growth hacking on e-commerce platforms, network and connections, metric definition and so on. While this is still a short and growing journey, it has been extremely fulfilling and has driven me to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. I’m quite excited at what lies in store in the next decade of operating with the above principles of having an investor and ecosystem mindset and hope to contribute meaningfully to the bustling startup ecosystem.

In my next posts, I will be writing about:

  1. How to get started as an Angel Investor?
  2. My frameworks and learnings from my journey of investing in 20+ startups over the last year.

If you are an active Angel Investor or someone considering getting into Angel Investing, do drop a comment on your motivations for the same. Would love to exchange notes and contribute in any way I can to help you get started.

Happy Reading!

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