I first met Shripad Nadkarni in the context of Epigamia. I had along with him taken a large early bet on backing the Greek yoghurt brand. In these interactions, I was intrigued by his command on all things branding. It was a joy to first-hand see his rich experience gained from working on the biggest global consumer packaged goods brands at the highest level come into play while building emerging brands like Paper Boat and Epigamia.
As an investor focusing on early-stage consumer startups, I knew how vital and tricky it is to get this aspect of business right. We quickly became good friends with a shared passion for young brands and old whisky. Shripad soon launched his own venture Fingerlix, a centre of plate ready-to-cook offering. He invited me to participate in the seed “friends and family round".
I loved the product and team but due to my personal constraints on capital and inability to ascribe a relevant premium for a quality team, I passed.
Fingerlix soon had high-pedigree backers in Zephyr Peacock, Accel and RB Investments and was growing in revenue (and valuation) at a blistering pace. A point Shripad never fails to remind me of each time we get together, which is often, given his favourite Goan joint is right across my office! Subsequently, Swiggy has also invested in Fingerlix, backing an interesting pivot in strategy which could be a potential biggie.
The experience has matured me as an investor, especially towards placing a singular emphasis on team. And I also became determined to not miss out on an opportunity to work closely with Shripad. It was a happy day when he accepted my invitation to come on board as an adviser to Sauce.vc, my recently launched consumer brands venture capital fund. Today, with folks like him by my side, we are looking at building the next generation of challenger brands together.
Manu Chandra, founder and managing partner, Sauce.vc, an early stage consumer VC fund.
Anti-portfolio A section where investors talk about missed opportunities in start-up investments.