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Opportunities Galore for Entrepreneurs in Mobile and Social "reinvention"
Ajay Chopra
Monday, October 1, 2012
Trinity Ventures is a boutique early stage venture firm with an unwavering dedication and respect for entrepreneurs. Their main focus is on early stage companies in targeted technology categories: Cloud/Mobile Infrastructure, Digital Media, Software-as-a-Service, and Social Commerce and Entertainment. The firm was founded in 1986 with a focus on a diffentiated approach to venture capital — an approach long on collaboration, short on hierarchy, and with none of the “our way or the highway” mentality.

Since joining Trinity Ventures in 2006, Ajay Chopra, General Partner, Trinity Ventures, has developed a reputation as an entrepreneur’s coach. His passion is helping entrepreneurs execute their Big Idea. He has over 20 years of operating experience at the senior management and board level with start?ups, private companies and public companies, including at Pinnacle Systems, a company that he founded and grew to a $350M revenue NASDAQ listed company. Being the General Partner, Ajay Chopra shares his current priorities and some tips for the entrerpreneurs.

Area of focus of investment

Trinity is an active investor broadly in the IT and IT enabled services area. Our current investment themes are Digital Media, Social eCommerce and entertainment, Cloud services and Software infrastructure. About half of our investments are consumer focused and half are B2B. We invest primarily on the U.S based companies and work tightly from a single office so we can provide personal service to our portfolio companies.

Some of the hottest technologies we follow

We are very excited about mobile commerce. We feel that mobile commerce is in its first inning. With ubiquity of cell phones and enablement of location based services several interesting opportunities for commerce will fuel innovation. Trinity has a very good portfolio in eCommerce space with investments in Zulily, Beachmint, ThredUp and Bonfaire. We plan to look aggressively for investments in mobile commerce space.

Trinity Ventures also believe that the IT services space is going through a massive transition with more and more of enterprise applications moving from “behind the firewall” deployment to cloud based services. The first wave of this transition was for back office services such as customer support and HR. We now see opportunities in front end cloud services such as marketing automation and social media analytics. Trinity has made recent investments in these areas including Act-On and Dynamic Signal.

The New areas of opportunity for innovation

The re-invention of web services in the mobile and social domain are huge opportunities for innovation. We have already seen early examples of this in the consumer services, for example, in the photo space (Instagram is mobile reinvention of Photobucket) and video space (SocialCam is the mobile reinvention of YouTube) and publishing space (Flipboard is mobile reinvention of Yahoo News). We believe we will witness several such reinventions in the B2B space as well as the workforce becomes more mobile and fragmented.

Advice to the Entrepreneurs

Invest your time in building companies that solve real problems for your target customers. Usually this means that you need to have a very good idea of the problems your customers face. We like entrepreneurs who have deeply internalized these problems and are passionate and relentless about providing a kick-ass solution that is second to none.
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