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Amit Patni

Amit Patni

Chairman, Nirvana Venture Advisors
Mumbai

About Me

I am the Co-founder & Chairman at Nirvana Venture Advisors and a promoter shareholder of Patni Computers. I have 22 years’ experience in technology, software and projects. I have extensive experience in the computer hardware and components market in India and overseas. In my various roles, I have independently ensured implementation of Greenfield projects and launched new business operations. As a Whole time Director of PCS Technologies Ltd., I was responsible for setting-up the copper clad laminates business. Thereafter, I developed Health Management Systems. I am a Director of the Board of Patni Financial Advisors the family office of the Patni Family. I have done my BS in Accounting and Masters from Babson College, USA.

Investment Strategy

Nirvana proposes to make early stage, as well as early growth investments, in companies focused on the nascent mobile, internet and electronic payment markets in India. We believe that these markets are at an inflection point of growth and will benefit tremendously from a favorable young demographic, rapid consumerization and increasing penetration of always-on internet. 
While the market is rapidly growing there is still a stark absence of institutional venture funds writing the first cheque into promising young companies. Our strategy is to bridge this gap and write the first cheque to best-in-class entrepreneurs, addressing large opportunities with unique products and great business models. Our team’s experience in the internet and IT ecosystems in India positions us strongly to add value to investee companies in terms of strategy, team build-out, future financing and exit.

Portfolio Companies

We have invested in three companies so far Nextleap Career Solutions, Transerv Pvt Ltd, Games2win Pvt Ltd. In all these three investment we have liked the team and the opportunity set these companies are targeting like I said earlier addressing large opportunities with unique products and great business models.

My Criteria for Investing in Startups

We definitely look for the teams who can build multi million dollar businesses but we also give a lot of preference to the idea that the team is chasing because it’s important for us to back right kind of ideas.

Attributes I Look for in an Entrepreneur
The entrepreneurs who are successful are the ones who have a very focused approached with a clear vision of what they want to achieve and what do they stand for because in the long run that differentiates them from others. An entrepreneur definitely needs to have the experience and knowledge in his business area but more importantly he should have conviction in his idea. If Entrepreneurs do not believe that their idea can really make the difference one day then it will be very hard for them to sale the same idea to others and even bringing people in the team, so conviction in the idea is very important attribute. Entrepreneurs should also be able to take responsibility and accountability of all the actions that they have taken or would take in future. Another attribute that we definitely like to have in the entrepreneurs is openness to new ideas and their ability to execute these ideas. If they don’t have the ability to listen what the market and experts are saying then the chances are that they might not be able to make their ideas a big success.
Common Mistakes Startups Make
A lot of startups that we don’t like are the ones who are following the similar idea which has been able to raise lot of money from VCs like the way many entrepreneurs started to build ecommerce companies after successful fund raise by some early ecommerce startups. Entrepreneurs should understand that they are not starting a business because they can raise a lot of money but rather because they believe in that business and like to make it a success. Also we have found that a lot of startups are not able to take the feedback especially when it’s regarding why they are wrong. It’s no harm listening to others, understanding their view points and applying some of these ideas if they make sense for their startups.
Most Popular Types of Businesses in India at the Moment
We have a focus on the digital space in India and we are seeing a lot of moment in this space. There are entrepreneurs who have already built multi million dollar businesses in this space and we believe that the next couple of years are good for our country in the digital space.
Thoughts on First Angel, Follow-on Investments and Offerings to an Angel Investor
I do investments as angel investor as well and like to be the first angel in the startups as it provides me opportunity to invest early in them. It also helps in providing the crucial mentorship and direction to the entrepreneurs who need help early in their startup life. I definitely mark out some capital for the follow-on investment to protect us from too much dilution. An angel would always like to have a board seat as it provides them the protection for their money and on the percentage entrepreneurs should be looking to dilute around 20-25% of their company in the angel around.

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