Since I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2013, I’ve been a firm believer of founders backing founders. I think the only thing that makes Silicon Valley what it is today is that founders have skin in the game in entrepreneurial ventures, which is very limited in India. For me, I’ve been very bullish on entrepreneurs starting their second company. I feel that’s the safest bet as founders make a lot of mistakes during their first ventures and learn from them. It’s worth it to enter a higher valuation for the second venture.
I still remember the time I was introduced to Gaurav Munjal and Roman Saini, co-founders of Unacademy. Incidentally, I’ve known Roman as he’s a doctor turned IAS-turned-entrepreneur and we have very few doctor entrepreneurs in the country. When I spoke to Gaurav, I was all sold on the idea/valuation/founding team. However, at that time, founders in India were not well capitalized and I just had ₹5 lakh to invest. I had an option of investing more in Innov8, my own venture, or sparing money for startup investments. Unfortunately, at that time, the minimum commitment was ₹10 lakh and I passed on the opportunity.
Today, I regret not being a part of the story, not because of the multiple increase in valuations but because this is the most impactful educational startup of the country. Unacademy has revolutionized the way knowledge is imparted in the country. That been said, during the past three years my bond with Gaurav and Roman has deepened significantly, from the time we met in Bengaluru to investing together in startups.
This is not my first anti-portfolio and definitely not my last. The beauty of entrepreneurship is that this is the only profession in the world where you make money by making mistakes and learning from those. I always say change and failures are the most profitable phenomenon.