Published: 11/3/2020

Good morning, it's Tuesday and Anmol here with another long-ish post today. Tomorrow is Election Day in the United States of America and if you're American and haven't voted yet, go out and vote tomorrow! I, along with 98M folks, have already voted but the country will definitely be on edge tomorrow. Having covered funding announcements for ~9 months, there are definitely a couple names that I see more often than not and I wanted to talk about a couple of angel investors in particular- Kunal Shah & Kunal Bahl + Rohit Bansal.

➡️ Angel investors are a very important part of the Indian ecosystem and have been from the start of India's startup story. Some of the early angel investors have now become VCs in the country- Sanjay Nath & Karthik Reddy were a part of Mumbai Angels before founding Blume Ventures in 2010; while the early successful founders (The Flipkart founders amongst others) in the industry have turned into Angels re-investing their profits back into the ecosystem.

➡️ One of the earlier founders who started investing in upcoming Indian startups have been the Snapdeal founders Kunal Bahl & Rohit Bansal. They've certainly had a tumultuous path with Snapdeal and its multiple ups and downs but the focus and vision behind Snapdeal 2.0 seems be working for them. And being an early trailblazer in the ecosystem, they have backed over 100 companies through Titan Capital in the country ranging from Razorpay to Ola and everything in between.

➡️ On the other hand, we have Kunal Shah- the founder of CRED, who previously started and sold Freecharge (to Snapdeal coincidentally), who now invests in startups in his personal capacity including the likes of Khatabook, Unacademy and several well-known Indian startups, with a portfolio of over 40. We've seen the trend of solo-capitalists in the US, and I think we've been seeing a similar trend of the "super angel" in India for a while.

➡️ It's also interesting how Titan and Kunal run their operations quite differently. Kunal Bahl & Rohit Bansal have been backing companies for close to a decade now, and have now spun up a team to help them manage their investments. I'm not quite sure how Kunal manages his investments (he hasn't spoken about it terribly much to my knowledge).

➡️ And while these angel investors have built impressive portfolios, I think it's still important to distinguish them from seed stage VCs. While Titan Capital does write $100k - $500k checks, I think it's harder for them to lead seed rounds (were companies are now raising millions). And similarly, I don't think Kunal Shah writes checks greater than a couple hundred thousand either. But I don't think they want to be full-time VCs either and move up the stack- all of them are very pre-occupied running their businesses. Plusm they might not be the best equipped to help as many startups if they were full time investors alongside running their own businesses, there are only so many hours in a day.

➡️ But I think it's great to see founders reinvest their personal capital into the founders of tomorrow, it really helps the ecosystem more forward and grow faster as there is more capital for more founders to build their own businesses. I also think we're going to see a lot more of this especially with platforms like AngelList and LetsVenture helping manage some of the infrastructure of investing. In the last couple of years, we've seen a lot more ex & current founders ramp up their angel investments in the likes of Jitendra Gupta, Amrish Rau, Vaibhav Domkundwar and Anand Chandrasekaran (among so many others).

➡️ It does seem like this trend has been growing rapidly as well with some of the newer founders starting to angel invest through their network or in companies started by ex-employees earlier and earlier. We've seen a trend of huge party rounds in America with dozens of investors participating in a single round and as the democratization of Angel investing in India continues, I think we're going to see this explode within the next couple of years.

➡️ I'm not completely certain of the economics of angel investors with huge portfolios like Kunal Shah & Titan Capital, but just by looking at the paper valuation of some of their companies- I'm certain they've made a pretty penny and maybe are even outperforming some seed funds on a similar amount of capital invested (not entirely an apples to apples comparison). I myself have dipped my toes in angel investing and can see why folks spend so much time and capital on it- watching people succeed and build cool shit is a lot of fun. So if you're currently building something and think I can help out in any way- hit me up :)

Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/abhymurarka/status/1322203163638706176?s=20

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