A Kaleidoscopic Lens on Auxano

Dec 30, 2021

With the year wrapping up, retrospection sets in. Its always advised to move forward and not look back, but I beg to differ.

“Year’s end is neither a beginning nor an end but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instil in us”

 ~ Hal Borland

With the year wrapping up, retrospection sets in. Its always advised to move forward and not look back, but I beg to differ. Till you won’t take a moment to stop, ponder and learn, how would you know how far you’ve come and what next to accomplish. 

When this new year began, everyone in the ecosystem (startups, founders, investors and the VCs) was hopeful yet uncertain. We were all still reeling from the impact of the pandemic, but moving forward with a certain resilience and motivation.

It was time to unlearn, re-learn and move on. Like the phoenix rises from the ashes, the Indian startup ecosystem did not JUST rise, but SOARED to new heights.

What a year it has been. With over 40 Indian startups declared as Unicorns* only in 2021 (taking the total count to 70), it made India the world’s fastest-growing startup ecosystem.

(* A Unicorn is an unlisted startup with valuation of $1 billion or more)

It saw a record investment of nearly $ 36 Billion in the unlisted space, with an increase in number of deals, aggregate deal value and the average deal size.

But all that glitters, is truly gold? As a VC how do you know which opportunity is a “responsible and sound bet”?

I would like to make use of an analogy here, of the jockey and the horse.

Trends, like horses, are easier to ride in the direction they are going.

 ~ John Naisbitt

When looking for investment opportunities, we look for megatrends that are defined as changes in the world that would create major new demands. And our goal has been to invest in companies that would cater to these demands.

With investments spanned across sectors declared as a megatrend, we have our portfolio diversified across Edtech, Micro-delivery, Gene sequencing, Workflow automation & Business intelligence; and some at the juncture of becoming one such as, Content creator’s economy, Smart mobility, etc.

Moving at a steady and stealth pace, 6 investments were closed within this year itself, along with follow-on investments in the existing SPV portfolio . 

But if trends are like horses riding into the winds, how do you ride into the right direction (jockey)?

Our investment approach becomes our jockey. With a focused diversification strategy, we like to term it as the “Octopus Approach”.

Take Edtech for instance. Through our diversified portfolio within the space, we are able to cater to the entire spectrum of potential consumers from the age of 5 to 45 years. From robotics & coding courses for kids, to test prep markets and even job prospecting for aspirants. 

What this approach allows us, is the ability to capture a megatrend, but also diversify the risks associated with it, by investing in differentiated business models, target audiences and patterns of consumption. 

So, the jockey (investment strategy) needs to be as good as the horse (capturing the megatrend) to win the ultimate race (return to our investors) ..!! 

As the year rounds up, we did reminiscing (for the victories) and retrospection (for the lessons to be learnt). And we are evolving with the ecosystem. To be not just as a contender in the race, but rather stay ahead of the curve. 

It's now time to look forward, with a hopeful mind and a watchful eye.!!

Author(s) :
Swadha Agarwal