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Anupam Mittal
Anupam Mittal

Anupam Mittal

CEO, People Group



Anupam Mittal is a member of:

- Expert
Investment Strategy
I look for disruptive ideas from entrepreneurs who don’t take ‘NO’ for an answer and I tend to do well that way.
I am focused on consumer internet, digital media and F&B. They have a potentially large market and have low barriers to entry but are able to achieve scale very quickly. They also allow for considerable creativity and innovation. And because the rules of the game are not yet set, they are best suited for an entrepreneurial approach. So these are very good sectors for investors and that are kinds of what I enjoy. B2B is not something that I particularly enjoy because of long sales cycle, so I try to stay away from that.
Any other area I would like to invest if I find interesting will be on the back of somebody I trust. For example, I had never done any healthcare but when I looked at a couple, I did it because they are somebody I trust a lot and they understand healthcare very well.
Portfolio Companies
I have done close to 20 investments today of which 3 are in process right now.
  • Interactive Avenues – India’s Largest Digital Agency
  • Ola Cabs
  • Café Zoe – One of the Hottest Bar & Restaurant in Mumbai
  • Kae Capital – An Early Stage Fund
  • GSF – A Startup Accelerator
My Criteria for Investing in Startups
I look for 3 things – People, People and People. People with high intellectuality, innovation and creativity. I use products, ideas and market segment as negative filter. Like if I find a great team but they are married to a losing idea, for some legacy reason or just out of passion. They stay with that longer than they should and some of those ideas are not bad but are related to an industry which is not going anywhere and are not creating any value.
Most Popular Types of Businesses in India at the Moment
People are all looking at consumer internet, healthcare, education and clean-tech. All these businesses have tremendous room to scale and they are all virgin territory. They also require low capital intensity. From an angel’s perspective, I don’t really buy into high capital intensity businesses.
Attributes I Look for in an Entrepreneur
When you look for an entrepreneur typically what happens is, a guy who is great at starting out something is not the best one to scale it because the qualities needed for both are different. Ideally, I look for someone who balances both but that is easier said than done. So, initially we all look for passion, perseverance, intuition, ability to be very bold and people who are scrappy and crafty with high integrity and values.
Common Mistakes Startups Make and How to Avoid Them
Three of the biggest mistakes that I have seen startups make are
  • Getting the wrong co-founder – Most of the companies fail because of problems between co-founders.
  • Inappropriate capitalization table – It is very important for an entrepreneur to know who to take money from, how much to take and how much stakes to give and what is good money and what is stupid money.
  • Not failing bad ideas quickly – The best thing an entrepreneur can do at an early stage of the company is to iterate very quickly. So if something is not working, he should get out within 6 months and try something else.
The best way to avoid such mistakes is to try to get angels on who understand this landscape, who have build businesses, who have their ego in check.
Thoughts on Being a First Angel
Being a first angel matters a lot to me. There are only two companies where I have come in Series A. I like to come in at the first stage. The reason is because as an angel investor I invest around 10 lakhs to 2 crores in a company and for me to have a meaningful stake and to contribute my time; I need to own at least 5%. And that can happen only if I come in very early.
Thoughts on Follow-on Investments
I typically define how much my investment would be for a particular year and then remain opportunistic about it. If my company is doing good then I would love to keep putting in more money because that is the only way to make good money.
How Much to Offer an Angel Investor
Founders don’t determine the valuation they get but the market determines it. If you have no choices then take whatever valuation you get. But if you have a choice then evaluate very carefully – what is the value that the person brings on board. What I think is the valuation you get is the function of the market. While talking to investors for capital, the valuation range usually is small. But if one angel is valuating $1 million and the other $10 million, then I would say go for the $10 million valuation. But if the difference is not so big, then you must evaluate the person you are bringing on board.
The advantage of bringing an angel on board is that an angel understands the entrepreneur’s perspective. They are also in it for a longer term because they don’t fund a venture that is expiring. Hence they would be able to support and back entrepreneurs and in many cases.
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