“Only an angel can give big funds to startups needing capital for team hiring, market research, and more.”
Cue angel investment.
Angel investors are the ‘angels’ for startups.
They help to kickstart their business model into action.
Google, for example, existed in the Stanford dorms with the efforts of 2 computer science grads – Larry Page and Sergey Brin – for the longest time.
Its inception attracted the attention of ‘Sun’ co-founder and angel investor, Andy Bechtolsheim, in 1998. A check of $100,000 ensured that Google transferred its offices from the dorm to a nice garage in suburban California.
Angel investors, therefore, help young startups with their initial growth and expansion.
They are high net-worth, affluent individuals with a high-risk appetite.
They expect exponential returns as equity (ownership in the company shares) if the startup scales up in the future financing rounds.
Let’s dive into the profiles of 21 active angel investors in the Indian startup ecosystem.
“Startup investments is now about how many exits you have, it is about what kind of value exit you create.”
Quite the mammoth of startup investments, Sanjay Mehta has injected capital in more than 150 startups with his newly launched firm and network of angels.
|Company Founded||CEO of 100X.VC|
|Number of Investments||30|
|Industry||Clean Technology, Consumer Internet, Healthcare, Software|
A man with a plan, he launched a VC firm last year to create an impressive portfolio of investing in 100 startups per year.
He has successfully exited 13 companies which includes OYO, BlockOne, LogiNext, and more. He earned a 16X return from LogiNext in its latest funding round, which is quite a feat to achieve.
“Our portfolio founders have responded to each pandemic obstacle as an opportunity.”
Anirudh A Damani has led the Artha Venture Fund since 2018, having invested in 85+ startups across India.
|Company Founded||CEO of Artha Venture Fund|
|Number of Investments||25|
He is an Economics graduate from Austin College who has funded early ventures like OYO, Mobilewalla, Exotel, and more.
This CEO of the famous Everest Flavours Ltd. and exporter of Menthol has invested in around 28 startups through India Angel Network and Mumbai Angels.
|Company Founded||CEO and Managing Director of Everest Flavours|
|Number of Investments||28|
|Industry||Location Based Services, Customer Support Tools|
Startups include Speakwell, Dexl, Mobiquest etc. His latest exit was in 2021 from Confirmtkt, a ticket management platform, through M&A.
“I found in my case that the company selection was more by intuition rather than numbers, and by judging on the intent of founders more than any other factor.”
Ratan Tata, the key player of angel investment and the patriarch of the Tata group, has invested in more than 2 dozen startups across India.
|Company Founded||Chairman of Tata group and major Tata companies|
|Number of Investments||62|
|Industry||Finance, tech, and more (sector agnostic)|
He’s an alumnus of both Harvard and Cornell University with an eye for burgeoning companies across a plethora of sectors like Ola, YourStory, Paytm, Urban Ladder, Snapdeal, and much more.
He’s about to see a 28X exit from the eyewear startup Lenskart after having invested in its Series C2 round 5 years ago.
He is the founder and CEO of Paytm and has funded 35 ventures so far in the seed round.
|Company Founded||CEO of Paytm|
|Number of Investments||35|
|Industry||Mobile and Finance|
He has had an incredible journey so far. From funding ventures like Milaap, InnerChef, Unacademy, and more to being valued at $4.2 billion in 2017, he’s helping many entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.
“Dear angel investors, a founder should be spending time building rather than updating you on a regular basis.”
The CEO of Cred has around 97 portfolio companies under him and actively seeks early-stage startups to invest in.
|Company Founded||Founder and CEO of Cred|
|Number of Investments||100|
A junior programmer at the starting of his career, he’s now working as an advisor to Sequoia Capital and has invested in ventures like Unacademy, Innov8, Voonik, and more.
He is another co-founder turned angel investor who has funded 46 prolific startups in the Indian startup ecosystem.
|Company Founded||Co-Founder and a Partner at Aarin Capital|
|Number of Investments||46|
|Industry||B2B, Finance, Food Products|
He is also the chairman of Manipal University. Sector agnostic as an investor, he has capitalized on ventures like Zoomcar, Tripfactory, YourStory etc.
A graduate in Computer Science from IIT Delhi, he is known for founding Flipkart and turning it into a unicorn. Sachin Bansal’s areas of interest are finance and technology. He has made 19 investments overall.
|Company Founded||CEO of Chaitanya Rural Intermediation and Development Services|
|Number of Investments||19|
His portfolio includes Spoonjoy, Inshorts, Roposo, Ather, and more.
Rajul Garg is an early-stage investor having made 15 investments so far.
|Company Founded||Co-founder and director of Sunstone Business School|
|Number of Investments||15|
|Industry||Healthtech and Transport|
He prefers to invest in early stage technology companies like Shuttl, Meesho, Healthkart, PeopleStrong etc.
This is someone who worked as an analyst for the majority of his career. Starting his investment journey from trading in the stock market, he has invested in 25 startups so far.
|Company Founded||Analyst at Habrock Capital Management|
|Number of Investments||25|
|Industry||B2B, FinTech, Saas|
His portfolio includes big names like Zoom, AdPushup, Yourbus, and more.
With a Masters in Statistics from Columbia University, he is the managing director of a VC firm, Nirvana Venture Advisors. He is also an angel investor who has made 22 investments in total.
|Company Founded||Managing Director of Nirvana Venture Advisors|
|Number of Investments||22|
Startups include Lido Learning, Fitternity, and more.
This co-founder of Zebpay, a bitcoin mobile wallet, is an active member of India Angel Network. He has an inclination towards technology softwares and has injected capital in 4 startups so far.
|Company Founded||Co-founder of Zebpay, Indian Crypto Exchange|
|Number of Investments||4|
|Industry||Consumer Internet, Big Data, Saas|
Startups include Fab Bag, Wishberry, and more.
An ex Yes Bank analyst turned angel investor, he has funded 5 startups yet with a preference for product-centric ventures.
|Company Founded||Partner in Naste Advisors|
|Number of Investments||5|
|Industry||Financial Software, B2C|
Sandeep Tandon is also an entrepreneur-turned-angel investor, being a partner at an early-stage investment firm. He has met 21 investments as of yet.
|Company Founded||Co-founded FreeCharge, Chairman at Aavas Financiers, and Board Member of Cred|
|Number of Investments||21|
Startups include AdPushup, Aureus Analytics, and more. His co-investors are big names like Y Combinators and FundersClub.
He is an IIT dropout. He is a software engineer and an entrepreneur. He co-founded the e-commerce platform Flipkart with Sachin Bansal. He has invested in 47 startups so far.
|Number of Investments||47|
|Industry||Varied – from FitnessTech to Finance|
Startups include CureFit, Rupeek, Acko etc. His latest exit was in 2021 from Hashlearn as the company went through an acquisition, an e-learning platform connecting tutors to students.
Ajay Lavakare belongs to the organization Stanford Angels and has injected capital in 2 startups as of yet.
|Company Founded||Co-President of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs India|
|Number of Investments||2|
|Industry||Big Data Analytics|
This Stanford University graduate has invested in ventures like InnovAccer.
He has made a whopping 36 investments and has more than 12 years of experience in banking and financial services.
|Company Founded||CEO of Jupiter, a neobanking startup|
|Number of Investments||36|
This serial entrepreneur has invested in recent ventures like Khaatabook, Karbon Card, and more.
With 3 partner investments yet, he is the managing director of Prime Venture Partners with more than 20 years of experience in the technology and internet industries.
|Company Founded||Managing Partner at Prime Venture Partners|
|Number of Investments||3|
|Industry||Business/ Productivity Software|
The startups of his choice are Ixigo.com, HotelTravel.com, and MindTickle.
This founder and CEO of Spinny has made 3 investments so far in his portfolio.
|Company Founded||Founder and CEO of Spinny|
|Number of Investments||3|
With 27 investments under his belt, he is the founder and managing director of Indifi Technologies.
|Company Founded||CEO of Indifi Technologies|
|Number of Investments||27|
The startups of his choice include Pepper Content, Pando, and more. His most recent exit was from Vebbler, a photo-sharing application, through M&A.
He is the founder of GSF India. He has made over 20 investments and has an inclination towards re-invention.
|Company Founded||Co-founder at InnerChef|
|Number of Investments||44|
|Industry||Insurance and Food Products|
The startups of his choice are Hungry Foal, Bimaplan, and more. His latest exit was in 2019 from a startup named BetterButter, a social food discovery platform, due to M&A.
Despite startups being a highly risky venture, these high net worth individuals also known as angel investors keep a hawk eye on the exciting startup scene.
Why is that?
For one, startup funding can give much higher returns than institutional investing.
For angels, it doesn’t matter if 10 startups in their portfolio fail. All it takes is for that 1 startup to scale up and bring home exponential returns.
It’s also crucial to hit the right chemistry with the founders for angels as this isn’t just a transaction of funds for equity. This is a transaction of the intellect, of ideas, and of skills.