Wednesday, December 05, 2012

TiECON 2012 - Angel Fund panel

TiECON 2012 organized by TiE Chennai yesterday had an excellent panel discussion on Angel Funds.

Gopal Srinivasan of TVS Capital Funds moderated the discussion. The panelists were: Paul Singh of 500 Startups, Rajesh Sawhney of GSF Accelerator & Superangels, Rehan Yar Khan of Indian Angel Network, Karthik Reddy of Blume Ventures and Suresh Kalpathi of Chennai Angels.

Of the above, Rehan Yar Khan and Suresh Kalpathi represent Angel investors: wealthy people who invest their own money in small start ups, and help the companies go to the next stage. Paul Singh and Rajesh Sawhney represent accelerators - where they identify small companies who can be put together and fast tracked to next stage. Blume has raised money from nearly 100 HNIs, so it acts as a Venture Fund but Karthik claims they work like Angel investors.

Karthik provided an excellent insight into the kind of companies they invest: A company which will reach revenues of 2-5 crore INR within 2 years (so that they can attract investments in the next round from VCs) and can hit breakeven by this time so that they are not worried about any delays in the next round of investments. Even if there is no one interested in investing in such companies, Blume can itself put in more money in such companies.

Paul Singh said they typically invest 50,000 USD in their companies, hoping that it will last them for 6-7 months and look for next level investments. He said putting the start-ups together makes them perform better - peer pressure driving them to deliver more.

When queried on valuations, Paul said one could consider a ball park of not more than 15% of the company for cash to last for an year. Rajesh said he will not invest in a start-up company where the founders have given away more than 30% before the Angel round (to friends and family). Because there will be more dilutions in the subsequent rounds which will leave very little for the founders in the end. he said he has helped fix this issue for couple of start-ups but where it is not possible, he will not invest in them, even though the people are good and the idea is good.


There was a session on 'கஷ்டமான கஸ்டமர்' (Difficult Customer) in Tamil. S.Ve.Shekhar moderated the session. Karunanidhi of SKP Engineering College, Jayakannan of Arasan Match Industries and Muruganantham (low-cost sanitary napkins) of Jayashree Industries participated. It was quite an enjoyable session too, with a lot of witty repartee from Shekhar. This sessions could have been longer - it appeared to me that the whole thing came to a stop rather quickly. It is nice to see TiE organizing a Tamil session too.

It was at the end of this session that our new book was launched - a book written by IIT-M Prof A. Thillai Rajan (in Tamil): A guide to first generation entrepreneurs. This book will be available for purchase in another 3 weeks.


  1. is that suresh kalpathi related to kalpathi agoram films (tamil movie making)

  2. I'm interested in that book... "guide to first generation entrepreneurs" and like to know guide in what aspects.. Would like to have a look at the TOC.