Ravi Trivedi

Ravi Trivedi

Partner, Srijan Capital

About Me

I have several years of experience in investments, digital marketing, product development and software engineering. At Srijan Capital, I am focused on angel investments, and incubating start-ups. I also work as a Principal at Southeast Interactive Technology Funds, North Carolina. I am a charter member of TIE Bangalore and a Mentor to IIM-A's iAccelerator. Before Southeast Interactive Technology Funds, I worked as Equity Analyst with Bank of America, where I covered companies over $120B in market capitalization. I was part of the team that was ranked runners up in the Alpha Hedge Fund Research rankings. I started my career as a software engineer at HP and had global cross-functional experience in leading and managing technology functions. I worked in marketing, consulting and engineering functions at HP. I co-authored the book Web Services Security, and participated in creating web services standards. I completed my MBA from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business and a Masters in Computer Science from IISc.

Investment Strategy

I moved back to Bangalore last year, and saw a need for hands-on incubator, and thus decided to start one. Srijan capital is an incubator and an angel investment entity. Here is a summary of our ticket size, number of deals we want to do as well as our engagement model.
For incubation, we are looking for single founder startups or startups that are missing one critical success factor – be it Digital Marketing or Product/Technology.  We work at a co-founder level in our incubated companies. Some of the incubated companies may be based on internal ideas.

Portfolio Companies

CouponRani is our recently incubated company. We believe couponing in India will grow along side the ecommerce growth. Further, we believe there are several empty spaces in couponing which can help us differentiate, and grow. We also are in process of close 2 angel investments, and they will soon be announced.

Book Recommendations for Entrepreneurs

If you are an entrepreneur or want to be an entrepreneur, these 3 books are a must read in my opinion - 
  • The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup – By Noam Wasserman
  • The Lean Startup – By Eric Ries
  • Little Bets – By Peter Sims

My Criteria for Investing in Startups
We are primarily focused on –
  • Team – Prefer heterogeneous teams with a hustler, and a hacker.
  • Validated Idea – Customer validation and feedback on the product. Traction with product. 
  • Market Size – While we do care about market size, we have a lower bar, as mid-size exits work well for us.
  • Scalability - We like technology enabled scalable ideas.
Attributes I Look for in an Entrepreneur
In my opinion, an entrepreneur is someone who is resourceful, and mostly their ambitions are without regards to the resources he controls.  Entrepreneurs figure out a way to reach their goals, and improvise along the way.
Passion in what they are doing and Persistence are two key attributes we look for in founders.  We have seen that often persistence is a key difference, between those who succeed and those who don't.
Common Mistakes Startups Make
Right or wrong is a subjective opinion, and lot of the things people do depends on their person they are, and one can weave their way to success in several paths. 
That being said, some of the things that could increase the risk –
  • Not validating the idea with potential customers soon enough.
  • Having too much money too soon, this may lead to hiring too fast.
  • If you are a technology startup, and you are outsourcing your product/technology development.
Most Popular Types of Businesses in India at the Moment
Currently, I believe there are many opportunities in SaaS, Mobile Apps, e-commerce, and Social Media space.
But, I think the businesses the businesses that are in hype keep changing every year, so an entrepreneur should not chase them. Also, if you are chasing what is hyped, then you are already too late.  Best is to think from first principles, which is to identify what are the pain points and challenges in an industry, and how you can address them.
Thoughts on First Angel, Follow-on Investments and Offerings to an Angel Investor
Yes, we are willing to write and commit to putting money before anyone else might have committed. That being said, since we always co-invest so we will help introduce the entrepreneur with other investors, and fill the round. From my venture experience, I have learnt how crucial follow-on investments could be, and hence we do keep 1 to 2 x the investment for follow-on investments. We don't believe in taking board seats on angel investments, but do want to have board observer rights.