Sequoia's Pathfinders to help young startup entrepreneurs go places

Sequoia's Pathfinders to help young startup entrepreneurs go places
Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia have launched its go-to-market platform, Pathfinders, which helps early-stage founders looking to set foot in international markets connect with the right industry operators in these regions.
Through the platform, founders can detail any help they require and be matched with the right industry ‘pathfinder’ who will invest their time in helping these startups set foot in newer geographies.
Sequoia is working with six startups as part of the Pathfinders platform and is looking to extend this across its seed portfolioinvest in startups to Series A startups.
Though the platform focuses on early-stage founders currently, it could be extended to growth-stage startups in Sequoia’s portfolio, managing director Harshjit Sethi said.
“We have been brainstorming since 2020 on how we can help our companies go global and came across the idea of Pathfinders. Today, early-stage startups need help with nuanced queries around – making their first hire in the US, market dynamics, customer introductions,” said Sethi. “We, at Sequoia, know great folks who have been part of some of our successful portfolio companies and are rightly equipped (by their experience) to help our startups with these nuances.”
The platform has 25 ‘pathfinders’ or industry operators already present on the platform, with the venture fund launching a dedicated app for portfolio companies to connect with the right industry operators, Sethi added.
Industry operators currently associated with the programme include Amit Singh, president, Palo Alto Networks; Oliver Jay, former chief revenue officer, Asana; Param Kalhon, chief product officer, UIPath; and Prasanna Sankar, cofounder, Rippling, among others.
“For selecting pathfinders, we look for someone who can add tremendous value and has seen great success and scale. The second big focus of the Pathfinders program is ‘active help’ since these early-stage founders need tactical and hands-on help,” Sethi said. “Hence, pathfinders (industry operators) need to have the time and ability to do that. The final criteria is people who are well referenced that we directly know of and feel comfortable introducing our companies to,” he said on how Sequoia would select the ‘pathfinders’ for the programme.
These operators could also make an investment in startups that they are mentoring and helping.
The VC fund also said that it will take active feedback from founders on their mentorship to help the next set of companies and founders derive value out of what the industry executive can provide.
It is currently looking at operators in the United States and Europe and will be expanding to other global regions such as Latin America and Australia.
In the past, Sequoia India has launched several programmes for founders and startups, including Sequoia Spark, a fellowship and mentorship programme for female founders; Build, a scaleup programme for growth-stage portfolio companies, Guild, a community for the founding chief executives of its successful growth-stage startups and Surge, its early-stage accelerator programme.
In June, Sequoia Capital raised $2.85 billion to deploy across startups in India and Southeast Asia, the largest dedicated corpus for the region by a risk investor.
It said that it would utilise $2 billion across its India venture and growth investments, while the remaining will go to the Southeast Asia companies.
This was the first time that the Silicon Valley-headquartered investor demarcated allocations separately for India and Southeast Asia (SEA), geography where it has been active over the past five-six years.
Sequoia’s India and Southeast Asia investment includes the likes of Byju's, Cred, Freshworks, GoTo, Kopi Kenangan, Pine Labs, and Razorpay, among others.