Angel investor Sanjay Mehta.
Angel investor Sanjay Mehta.

Why CleverTap is in angel investor Sanjay Mehta’s anti-portfolio

Losing out on Wizrocket aka CleverTap is a $100 million lesson, says angel investor Sanjay Mehta

April 2014, Sunil Thomas and Anand Jain (founders of CleverTap, earlier known as WizRocket) walked into the pitch room full of angels in BKC. They pitched the product with live demo of how they would influence consumer brand mobile apps with real time engagement.

99% of entrepreneurs can’t or don’t show live product demos. It was a wow demo by the founders. I had made up my mind to invest in the company.

Mobile apps in consumer space were growing rapidly. Their SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform had all bells and whistles of international grade enterprise software. It was a massive opportunity in B2B (business-to-business) SaaS space.

This company was referred by fellow angel investor who was friend of Sunil, so basic hygiene check on founder background was already in place. Anand had solid background with Burrp entrepreneurial venture. Both founders knew each other well as both had worked for Network18 Infomedia. It was a picture-perfect setup for venture investment.

Angel networks work with herd mentality. It is more consensus driven approach so we had many interested leads who wanted to work on the deal and curate it. We all started engaging with Sunil and Anand to understand more about their business model, operations, valuations etc. Come July 2014 we see a formal announcement of Accel Partners doing seed investment in WizRocket. We had lost the deal.

There were several lessons to be learnt from missing this deal.

We negotiated on budgets, went through numbers too much in detail which was unnecessary at seed-stage investments.

We had apprehensions as Sunil was going to be in the US bay area and Anand in Mumbai if this split team would work in tandem. It was a learning that if you believe in founders then don’t lose nerve due to other fellow investors comments. Conviction is far more important than consensus. If you believe in the deal then go for it.

Over the years, I have learned to close deals quickly, avoid fine prints and trust my instincts.

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