I have been actively managing my personal investment portfolio since 2010. As an investor, I have missed a few good “opportunities" over the years. The one that’s probably affected me the most was missing out on investing in Swiggy.
The primary reason was that I was not familiar with the founder well enough and it was routed through a consultant who was raising money at that time. I met the consultant in 2014 and, back then, he did not have enough background on the business.
Hence, it did not give me confidence, though the idea sounded great. I loved the idea as I am a big fan of the food-tech business.
The consultant showed weak knowledge of the product. His understanding was based more on theory. Moreover, he had not raised any significant amount. My concern was that he may not reach a threshold to make the investment look attractive in the future.
Of course, I believed I may be able to invest later once the startup was more mature. The rest, as they say, is history. Swiggy went on to become a unicorn.
The learnings from this is to give every pitch a patient hearing, do a deep dive analysis and evaluate. Even with an early-stage startup, trust your gut feeling. Check the credentials of the people behind the project and keep an open mind on the progress.
In hindsight, I should have connected with like-minded investors to ascertain the startup’s potential. Instead, I relied on conventional wisdom and a pattern recognition that blurred my vision.
Today, I think differently. I do try to move away from the beaten path and evaluate all pitches distinctively. Well, you win some and you lose some, but you learn from all. Each investment opportunity is different.
Chaitanya Cotha is an angel investor.