Internet is definitely here to stay

Date:   Sunday , March 04, 2012

After the successful acquisition by iGate, the founders of Patni Computer Systems have entered the venture space with Nirvana Venture Advisors, an early growth stage fund. Just a few months old, the firm has already made its first investment in, a Pune-based internet start-up that offers virtual career counseling to students. Amit Patni, Co-founder and Chairman, Nirvana Venture Advisors talks about the fund, and the areas they look to investment in.

The focus @ Nirvana Venture Advisors

‘Nirvana Venture Advisors’ is going to raise $75 million venture out of which the amount will be invested in early stage and growth stage startups. Certain amount is contributed by the Patni family and we are looking to raise another $30 million by the end of March this year. Our focus primarily is on the internet platform. We believe India has come to a stage where we see an exponential growth in the internet usage and the mobile usage. The entire ecosystem consisting of E-Commerce and E-Retail, content, gaming, cloud computing and others are making a big mark and promising a great future for India. Nirvana is an early stage and middle stage fund. We are looking to cover the entire digital space like mobile applications, game content, ecommerce and others, prefer to avoid enterprise software and services area. We create value as a product as several consumers are there on the internet. Out of $75 million we plan to fund 10 to 12 companies with $7 million to $8 million per company.

Internet & Mobile - The big trend to bet on

The internet is definitely here to stay. The Internet usage in India has reached 100 million and we see great projections in the near future. The internet reach in India has gone far and wide with the launch of 2G and now the 3G. And in the next two years, with Reliance launching 4G, the internet usage and connectivity will surely improve for better. We also have various providers who give amazing service in terms of DSL lines, broadband and WiFi. The second interesting factor is that we have 600 to 700 million active mobile users which is again a huge market. Until now, the internet usage through mobiles was less but with the connectivity becoming so good and the advent of smart phones, the android technology and so on, will create more and more applications on the mobile. This will make a huge difference in the E-Commerce industry pushing everything to the mobile.

When technologies like 3G and 4G come in, it takes few years to really make a mark in the market. This is one of the challenges that need to be addressed. The other challenge is that India is a very fragmented market. Lot of E-Commerce companies have started in the recent past and we will see some of the companies being merged into it or acquiring it. Hence, we have to back the right people because at the end of the day we need to build teams which will make global products. It is very important that we have a global reach.

Advice to Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs today, lack the right VC backing. Getting the funds is one aspect but getting the right VC who understands the state and advises correctly is more important. Entrepreneurs have to understand that they have to build the right business model which is very clear in terms how they are going to play it in the next couple of years. They often think of a short term approach which does not help. So, it is important to look at one’s long term goal and how to build valuable products.

My advice to the entrepreneurs would be to have a strong team from the very beginning. They should be focused on the business plan they present to the VC because they often try doing multiple things which is not correct. Clarity and focus plays an important role here.