Sept 9th 2015 marks 2 years since LetsVenture launched the beta version of the marketplace with the vision to make startup funding easy, efficient, transparent, and accessible to a large number of startups in the country. 2 years down, LetsVenture has emerged the dominant leader in this space.
A moment to reflect on the journey and share the key highlights – with the promise that we will continue to disrupt the investing space and create value going forward.
Highlight #1: LetsVenture is a technology-enabled marketplace, designed to create disruption at scale
We hear a lot of people labeling us as ‘ecosystem players’, ‘ startup evangelists’, ‘outreach partner’. We agree we play a key role in enabling an ecosystem. However we consider ourselves foremost a technology enabled product platform solving a problem and creating a disruption at scale. Building a marketplace is challenging – especially in a two sided marketplace where behavior change in the way we invest is as important as the platform adaption. There have been moments when the basis of online investing has been challenged – and we have always attempted to respond to the challenge by asking the following questions:
a. Will the solution we offer apply at scale? Can we solve it using technology, analytics, and make the system self-learning?
b. Launching a new feature could mean initial higher offline engagement but will it eventually move online or enable the online adaption to increase?
LetsVenture closed 50 startup funding in the last 2 years, with a small 2 people deals team – a huge validation for us internally that we are designing the platform for scale.
Highlight # 2: LetsVenture has unlocked a new category of angel investors, making it accessible to a lot more investors globally.
The last two years has been a revelation on how building a technology-enabled solution to an opaque, closed offline network can open up adjacencies in an existing market. We have profiled our ‘new-age angel investors’ into 4 categories:
- 2nd generation family business investors
- The global Indian looking at a trusted, curated vehicle to invest into Indian startups
- The CXO’s at MNCs/Corporates wanting to ride the entrepreneurial wave in India
We also see every emerging tech and Tier 2 city in India creating their own small angel group ― a trend that could result in more localized startups being funded. Whether these will result in large businesses being born in smaller cities is yet to be validated.
Today we have 1200+ angel investors from 23 countries. In last 2 year, more than 170 experienced and 120 new Angels have committed funds to Startups via LetsVenture.
Highlight # 3: Startup valuations at seed/ angel round still realistic
With the sky rocketing, hard to defend valuations in Series B/C rounds, and the media frenzy around startups, there is speculation building of the bubble, the froth and the vaporware! However statistically, in a marketplace like LetsVenture social validation / proof helps to ensure the insanity does not impact early stage startups. We continue to see strong founders, good traction, and ideas which can eventually scale get funded faster.
We are seeing more competitive valuations. Founders dilute anything less than 10 percent up to 25 percent in their angel round. However there still continues to be a large number of startup founders that also dilute upwards of 40 percent in their angel round. Almost all startups that raised funding on LetsVenture have dilutions below the 25 percent mark.
Concluding, like Naveen Tiwari, CEO inMobi, summarized this aptly at our maiden event LetsIgnite: “This market place could be one of the most valuable marketplaces in the country, given that the most valuable assets of the country are on your marketplace”