Ravi Gururaj

Ravi Gururaj

VP Products, Citrix

About Me

I have over twenty years of technology product experience. I manage the Citrix Startup Accelerator Program in India and serve on the Citrix India R&D engineering leadership team. I am a Charter Member of the Bangalore Chapter of TiE where I also serve on Governing Body, a Founding Member of the Harvard Angels, on the Nasscom Product Conclave volunteer team and a frequent speaker at cloud industry and startup ecosystem events.

Investment Strategy

My personal investment strategy is best summarized as “opportunistic and non-formulaic”in overall philosophy. I have invested and mentored several startups including Aurus Networks which is revolutionizing the way distance education is delivered, Pretty Secrets which is vertical eCommerce online lingerie venture, and GrexIT which is delivering powerful cloud based email collaboration frameworks. In addition, several new investments are in the pipeline and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Attributes I Look for in an Entrepreneur

Clarity of vision/purpose, relentless passion/tenacity, demonstrated mental malleability/agility, effective team building leadership capabilities and abundance of personal humility/integrity.

Common Mistakes Startups Make

Lack of clear differentiation, incompleteness of team, anemic resourcing, limited customer orientation, insufficient focus on the experience design, and myopic vision.

My Criteria for Investing in Startups
The first most important factor is my attraction to the founding teams – do they overwhelm me with a combination of their vision, passion, skills, track record and execution credibility. The second factor I consider is the disruptive or game changing nature of the proposed concept / idea / business model / go-to-market. Will what is being proposed: “dramatically change the status quo?”; “will this deliver a 10x better experience than the present system?”; “is this truly innovative?”; “is there truly a huge greenfield opportunity and is this founding team capable of exploit that effectively and quickly?”; and “can early success be scaled up massively in a capital efficient and profitable manner?”. The third factor I take into consideration is if my own skills and experience would be helpful in mentoring and guiding the team – can I deliver substantially more high value add as an angel investor to the founding team beyond just my cash? The final factor is my strong preference to invest alongside and in syndication with astute co-investors who are like minded in their commitment to helping the founding team achieve success and build into a big business.
Most Popular Types of Businesses in India at the Moment
In terms India focused businesses there are rich opportunities in education, healthcare and some niche ecommerce verticals and with respect to global plays the cloud infrastructure, enterprise software, SaaS, mobility, and big data/analytics segments are very promising.
Thoughts on Being a First Angel
My preference is to be “first money in” whenever possible. That’s where my own mentor ship & financial leverage, impact and influence is highest - in terms of team formulation, strategic trajectory of the new business, product/offering/market development, and subsequent stage fundraising. Paradoxically, I actually believe the financial risk (on a risk-rewards adjusted basis) is substantially lower when you get in early.