Nihal Mehta

Nihal Mehta

CEO, LocalResponse
New York City

About Me

I am a Founding General Partner at the world's first venture fund focused on mobile startups, ENIAC ventures; a Founding Partner of the India Internet Group which incubates and invests in Indian startups. I am currently also CEO of LocalResponse which helps marketers respond to real-time consumer intent.

Investment Strategy

I was lucky to have discovered my passion for mobile very early (1999), and focused on it ever since through every one of the 5 startups I founded. Leveraging the network and experience I’ve been fortunate to amass, I like to invest only in companies I can help accelerate with more than just a check.

Portfolio Companies

My investments include admob, uber, onswipe, mindsnacks, tapad, neverware, koding, nationbuilder, localytics, vungle, metaresolver, taptolearn, and 30+ others.

My Criteria for Investing in Startups

Because we invest so early, team is the most important. We make sure there is a co-founding technical partner, so that the company can keep shipping product even if they run out of cash. We want our entrepreneurs to be 'wall-breakers' and observing that most businesses finish differently than their original business plan; persistence and endurance are two of the most important character traits.

Attributes I Look for in an Entrepreneur
Passion- making sure the entrepreneur is so passionate about their business that they think about it all the time, even while they are sleeping.
Common Mistakes Startups Make
We’ve seen some startups fail early because of lack of a real technical team/shipping quickly, or because folks didn't have the 'wall-breaking' attitude and they quit early. I always say, "You only fail when you quit."
Most Popular Types of Businesses in India at the Moment
In mobile, sectors we feel are growing include mobile adtech, education, and commerce. Specifically the enterprise/b2b businesses are hot vs. consumer, since consumer has hit a slight bubble and now looking to b2b businesses to help monetize.
Thoughts on First Angel, Follow-on Investments and Offerings to an Angel Investor
Typically we do not lead but follow behind a lead that has deeper pockets (although we have led a few deals). We do reserve money for follow-on investments, but weigh follow-on as if it's a new investment. I was once told if you give up less than 50% at every round, you'll be fine, but I think the new metric is closer to 25%. Board seats should only be given to those that can dramatically accelerate their business through the board member's experience and network. We constantly tell entrepreneurs that if you are passionate about your business and it solves a big problem, then you can raise money from a lot of different people-- pick the ones that can dramatically change the trajectory of your business and get them on board ASAP.