Anil Joshi, managing partner, Unicorn India Ventures
Anil Joshi, managing partner, Unicorn India Ventures

Every time when I have Paper Boat it reminds me of missing the opportunities: Anil Joshi

While we were able to establish team potential, we failed to gauge their potential to change the dynamics of the beverage industry by introducing an innovative product mix of ethnic Indian drinks and distribution strategy

Unicorn India Ventures is in its early days of investments, hence it’s too early to speak about an anti-portfolio. However, I’m taking the liberty to share one miss from my Mumbai Angels days where I served as president during the early days. Many may not remember Tzinga from Hector Beverages but another brand Paper Boat may resonate with people. Paper Boat is now a household name for ethnic Indian drinks such as Jaljeera, Aam Panna, Jamun, Kala Khatta etc. Hector Beverages was incorporated in Gurgaon and Neeraj Kakkar, along with other co-founders, was working on a health drink. During those early days Kakkar was introduced to us when he was raising the angel round post development of the Tzinga health drink. As the round was fairly subscribed, there was only a small room for angels to take part.

During the early days of angel investments, most of the deals were in the tech space and, hence, we had limited bandwidth to evaluate deals in the food and beverage space especially in the health category which was largely dominated by energy drink Red Bull. Since the deal had come through a very respected reference we started evaluating it.

One of the main criterion for angel investment was backing a good team. Hector Beverages’ founding team scored 100% on this count. However, in the absence of sectoral information we found the deal expensive compared to other investment opportunities available on the table.

Another factor that hindered our decision was that the beverage industry is very branding driven and with just one product we were worried how Hector Beverages would succeed in the absence of proper funding. While we were able to establish team potential, we failed to gauge their potential to change the dynamics of the beverage industry by introducing an innovative product mix of ethnic Indian drinks and distribution strategy.

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