Praveen Gupta

Praveen Gupta

Founder, Internet Treasures

About Me

In the last 1 year I have been working fulltime on a startup in the consumer internet space. It is a new and exciting product aimed at a global online audience. We launch in December. I founded Asia’s first online market research company – Cross-Tab in 2000. In 2001, we pioneered the offshore MR services model by getting Microsoft to start outsourcing their research work. In the last decade I have worked across all areas of global consumer internet (portal, gaming, social, music, channels, auctions etc) and provided services across consumer behavior, analytics, big data and consulting; working with top tier online businesses such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Monster, Lenovo etc. I am also part of the leadership teams at Blueocean Marketing (a US-based full service agency) , Informate Mobile Intelligence (a global pioneer in mobile measurement and metrics) and Borderless Access (a Top10 provider of research panels across the globe).

Investment Strategy

In terms of investment strategy I tend to invest via the consortium-based approach and am also active on Angellist. I prefer to invest in the consumer internet domain, where I have relevant experience. Agri-based startups are another interest area.

Attributes I Look for in an Entrepreneur

  • Why do they want to become an entrepreneur
  • Does the person have the toughness to take a lot of rejection and still keep moving forward
  • Is his ambition constrained by the resources available
  • Common Mistakes Startups Make

  • The most common problem is the entrepreneur believing that concept arbitration guarantees success. 
  • Most Indian startups think small/local.
  • A lot of the startups don’t think beyond their initial idea.
  • How to Avoid Making Such Mistakes

    Entrepreneurs need to know that ideas and businesses evolve and they should have a simple roadmap which should be visited regularly to keep (re)defining the goal and the path. Think BIG.

    Portfolio Companies
    Some of my recent investments are:
    • Milk Mantra – provides dairy products via innovative delivery mechanisms, with a stated mission to sustainably enhance rural lives. The company is solving a big problem as almost all milk sold in Eastern India is adulterated.
    • Exclusively In – world’s leading online retailer of Indian fashion and Indian-inspired luxury lifestyle.
    • Efarm - a young social enterprise firm providing India's first end-to-end agri supply chain platform enabling farmers reach end markets in an effective manner. Very committed founders and a longterm play.
    • Level10 - India’s leading creator of comic book content. The category is just beginning to evolve in India and Level10 is a pioneer.
    • Wild East - develops new business opportunities for celebrity, media, fashion and corporate brands. The category is nascent in India and the founder is an experienced professional in the domain.
    • ezCater – US-based online catering marketplace. They help people find caterers by bringing together critic reviews, customer ratings, photos, and detailed menus. An efficient business model with a great founding team.
    My Criteria for Investing in Startups
    My first filter is the simplicity and potential of the idea.
    Most Popular Types of Businesses in India at the Moment
    There are opportunities everywhere. There’s no need to be a sheep and follow the herd.
    Thoughts on First Angel, Follow-on Investments and Offerings to an Angel Investor
  • I am not particular about being the first or a later angel in a project. 
  • Follow-on round participation is dependent on a number of factors on the basis of which one makes investment decisions. A follow-on is sometimes also an opportunity to exit.
  • The entrepreneur should not give away a massive amount of equity at the angel stage. Knowingly they are setting up their company for failure in trying to raise future rounds.
  • Instruments such as convertible notes are beginning to find takers and reducing the dilemma of priced rounds.
  • Message for Entrepreneurs
    The entrepreneur should take slightly less money than he really need. And conserve equity.