Angel investor Akshay Mittal.
Angel investor Akshay Mittal.

Why Rubique is in angel investor Akshay Mittal’s anti-portfolio

Angel investor Akshay Mittal had thought it is just not possible to remove the middlemen and drive the entire loan process using just technology

First Coffee Ventures is an early-stage investment group focusing on high-growth ideas in the technology and consumer brands space. My choice of startups is focused on large markets, at post-prototype stage, and founded by strong, passionate entrepreneurs.

I am often asked about my anti-portfolio and I call it my “false positives" investments—which I define as an investment error. In early 2015, a friend told me about Rubique (then, an online marketplace that provides technology-enabled end-to-end loan fulfilment solutions for individuals and MSMEs. This is one startup I chose not to invest in, and now, it has grown into a successful company.

While I strongly believed in the founders’ ability, my concerns were two-fold. First, there was a preconceived notion based on what I had seen in housing sector that it is just not possible to remove the middlemen and drive the entire process using just technology. Second, I was also concerned that the company’s valuation was quite high, given the stage of the business back then.

For me, every false positive is a learning experience. The key learning from this was that one should learn to ignore inherent biases when making investment decisions and trust a founder with proven execution skills, especially in a large marketplace. One should learn to move quickly and take a leap of faith rather than focusing on what is missing. I do realize, however, that expecting a 100% hit rate is unrealistic and an anti-portfolio is inevitable.

In my anti-portfolio, I would like to honour companies whose success inspires my endeavour to enable an ecosystem that will encourage young and first-time entrepreneurs to take risks and work towards achieving their dream. A loud cheer to all the great ones that I have missed!