What’s in a name? Ask these venture capital firms3 min read . Updated: 08 May 2015, 01:27 AM IST
Who, or what, has inspired Indian VC firms when it came to their naming ceremonies?
Mumbai: When naming their companies, global venture capital, or VC, firms were clearly inspired by nature, mythology and even fiction. For Sequoia Capital and Fir Tree Partners, it was obviously trees.
Tiger Global and Lion Fund Capital Management, on their part, can be said to have a fondness for big cats.
Atticus Capital and Valinor Management were clearly inspired by fictitious characters. While Atticus Finch is a character in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Valinor is the fictitious place in The Lord of the Rings.
And it’s a clear liking for Greek mythology when it comes to firms like Cerberus Capital Management and Kynikos Associates LP.
But who, or what, has inspired Indian VC firms when it came to their naming ceremonies?
Most of us are accustomed today to digital single lens reflex, or SLR, cameras. But traditional cameras, which were not as sophisticated as today’s digital ones, used the basic principle of light entering an enclosed box through a converging lens and the image being recorded on a light-sensitive medium. Basically, it was a box with a light bulb that helped capture the image and then print it on the negative.
Sandeep Murthy, partner with Lightbox Ventures, says he found the inspiration to name his fund from this box that “was also called a lightbox".
In terms of design, lightbox is also the term used when words and sentences on a webpage are magnified and highlighted when selected. “We closely work with our companies from the inside just like the lightbox to bring the best out of them and magnify growth," says Murthy.
“Inspiration strikes at all times. For me it was in the shower. Despite that, there was a lot of thought that went into it," says Rahul Khanna, co-founder of Trifecta, which is a technical term that refers to the prediction of the top three positions in any race.
“Investing in companies is a long race. In our case, it is the company, the VC, PE (private equity) investor and us (venture debt fund) that is involved in every investment. Between the three of us, we look to take the top three positions in the investment race," says Khanna.
Trifecta also means a winning situation, and Khanna said his fund looks to create a win-win situation for all.
Orios Venture Partners
“Orios was an Egyptian treasurer of the gods and he said, in order to move ahead in life, one needs to constantly unlearn," says Rehan Yar Khan, founder of the fund.
Khan came across the term in his 20s, and when he set up the fund, there was no better name in mind. “To keep unlearning, disruption and innovation is what VCs need to do constantly," says Khan.
The fund was looking to use the first three letters of the word “development" but dropped the idea. “‘Dev would have sounded like a mythological fund name," says Anil Joshi, the company’s founder.
In June last year, there was a lot of news around Flipkart, InMobi and MuSigma. Companies that are valued at a billion dollars or more are called unicorns. Just like the imaginary animal, such start-ups are very rare and Joshi decided to name his fund Unicorn. The fund looks at investing in early-stage companies, and Joshi hopes to make it to the unicorn club.
While most funds thought about investment strategies, here was a classic Indian way of choosing a name. “Even though I don’t, my wife believes in vaastu and insisted on the letter K. We didn’t have a name till a month before the launch," says Sasha Mirchandani, founder with the early-stage investment fund.
He went ahead with the name Kae as it meant pure in Japanese and had a global feel to it, “I wanted the name to be not more than five letters. We did look at Kai but the name was taken," he adds.