At an entrepreneurship occasion in Bengaluru in September, Kunal Shah was handled like a veritable superstar. The hackathon for wannabe monetary know-how entrepreneurs was meant for some 100-plus startups to showcase their technical chops. As an alternative, younger engineers & managers milled about round Shah, inquisitive about his secret sauce for startups.

Having bought his earlier enterprise, Freecharge, to Snapdeal for $400 million in 2015, the serial entrepreneur took a while off to show angel investor, enterprise advisor and likewise to mentor dozens of startups for somewhat over a yr.

It was solely so lengthy earlier than the entrepreneurial bug bit him once more. In April 2018, Shah received began once more, this time with Cred, which rewards bank card customers for paying their payments on time. It appears to have taken off.

In only 10 months, the valuation of Cred has crossed $500 million and seems heading in the right direction to turn into India’s subsequent startup unicorn. Marquee buyers, together with Sequoia Capital and Tiger International, have scrambled to leap aboard India’s hottest fintech enterprise in years.

Shah is right now conscious that the stakes are excessive. Having proven off his abilities in constructing one enterprise, scaling it and, most vitally, scoring a blockbuster exit, the ecosystem is watching his each transfer. In August 2019, he added to the hypothesis round Cred’s fortunes when he raised $120 million within the enterprise’s newest spherical of funding, taking the whole to $176 million.

Throughout a dialog on the sidelines of ET Startup Awards, he disregarded the competition that serial entrepreneurs like him have been cornering a bit of investments within the area, queering the pitch for newbies. Booting up a start-up, whether or not as a first-timer or a veteran, feels the identical, he reckons. “There may be nothing like the joys of beginning up,” he says.

A lot of such profitable entrepreneurs who bought their first or second ventures and struck pay filth are discovering that they’ve turn into startup junkies — can’t sleep properly too lengthy away from the crushingly irritating lifetime of a founder.

Many who thought as soon as they exit for the large bucks, they may retire and play golf, journey or pursue gardening, uncover inside weeks that leisure doesn’t deliver a lot fulfilment.

In order that they swing proper again and begin a brand new enterprise. Now that India has a big variety of profitable entrepreneurs who’ve profitably bought their first ventures, there may be now a recognisable phenomenon of rebounding founders, and the ecosystem comprising funders, rivals and prospects are reacting to this tribe in attention-grabbing methods.

“After some time, you’ll be able to’t resist the urge. You may solely backyard and potter about so lengthy,” says Saurabh Kochhar, founder and CEO of Meddo, an end-toend medical providers supplier, who earlier based on-line printing service Printvenue and meals supply platform FoodPanda. Ola later bought Meals-Panda India for $250 million.

Whereas some markets akin to foodtech have waxed and waned (abandoning simply three giant gamers), others akin to fintech have developed from segments akin to digital wallets to wider digital lending alternatives.

As these enabling components have strengthened, buyers, executives and entrepreneurs have flocked to the market. “The market has turn into much more aggressive and cluttered, even when there may be much more capital,” says Ashish Kashyap, founding father of IND Wealth, an AI-driven monetary advisory platform, which counts marquee investor Tiger International amongst its backers. Almost three years in the past, his earlier enterprise, Ibibo Group, was acquired by Makemytrip for $720 million.

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“The enablers are in place to construct out a multi-billion greenback enterprise,” says serial entrepreneur Thirukumaran Nagarajan, CEO and cofounder of Ninja Cart, a B2B grocery supply enterprise. To date, the enterprise has raised round $150 million (and should increase $100 million extra) because it seeks to develop its enterprise. The founders are considering massive for this enterprise: not less than a 10-fold development from 500 small and 150 massive vehicles to ferry agri produce.

The market has grown and turn into extra conducive from the time these founders seeded and grew their first ventures. In contrast with the time Shah based Freecharge, cellular knowledge has gone mainstream, handsets have gotten cheaper and the Jio revolution that has seen the addition of 300 million customers and an efficient 90% discount in charges has catalysed a brand new wave of alternatives. Alternatives in regional languages and video have boomed, and startup funding has additionally expanded.

In 2015, the yr Freecharge was bought, danger capital buyers ploughed $7 billion into Indian startups. In 2018, that quantity was $11 billion. Buyers ET Journal spoke to say that early rounds are increasing too — $2 million is the brand new $500,000 — and the supply of this capital has expanded too. “The ecosystem is way extra developed,” says serial entrepreneur Ok Ganesh, founding father of ventures akin to Tutorvista and Massive Basket. “Virtually every thing is extra organised and supportive. Each the time required and prices are decrease.”

With co-working areas, software program on the cloud, differentiated angel and seedstage buyers, varied accelerators and incubators and availability of expertise, it’s a rather more conducive setting right now. An investor ecosystem that seeks to minimise dangers loves the second coming of profitable entrepreneurs.

Whereas one in 10 investments normally survive and thrive, buyers hope that signing up with seasoned entrepreneurs will considerably even these odds. Accel Companions has launched Rebound, an funding programme targeted on second-time entrepreneurs, as has a number of different VCs.

Whereas there are murmurs of disenchantment about serial entrepreneurs cornering chunks of investments, it doesn’t imply they’re essentially chopping into what is obtainable to the first-timers, as a result of the general pie is increasing as properly.

A extra mature ecosystem has emboldened a raft of bankers, for instance, to begin up, at the same time as well-heeled founders starting from Flipkart’s Sachin Bansal to Makemytrip’s Deep Kalra are offering cash and mentorship to them. “Regardless of the headlines, your odds of being observed are a lot better right now as a first-timer,” says Vinay Bagri, founding father of on-line lender Niyo.

However there isn’t any denying that serial entrepreneurs take pleasure in higher entry to networks which might be essential to startup success. Contemplate the jostle for Jitendra Gupta’s newest enterprise Amica — a slew of high VCs are pouring cash right into a enterprise that’s but to be launched. They guess previous founding father of a fintech success story — he bought his enterprise Citrus to Naspers — is aware of the contours of the market finest and might, subsequently, yield the most effective returns. “We’re seeing founders turning into extra considerate and deliberate.

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Therefore, they’re elevating a bigger quantity to account for higher runway so that after they increase, they’ll give attention to taking the product to market and quickly scale up gross sales,” says Sanjay Nath, managing accomplice, Blume Ventures, an early-stage investor.

His friends, too, are completely satisfied to again the talents of serial entrepreneurs. “The place serial entrepreneurs rating considerably is the execution chops and a community that enables them simpler entry to financiers,” says Sanjay Swamy, managing accomplice of Prime Ventures.

Serial Successes
Serial Success

“The market has modified massively since I final began up, and adapting shall be a problem”

Jitendra Gupta
Beforehand- Founding father of Citrus Pay


Is now Cofounder of Amica Pay

Star energy Bought Citrus Pay, his earlier fintech enterprise, to Naspers for $130 mn; has reportedly raised $24 mn for brand new enterprise.

What has modified – Extra early-stage capital – Blockbuster exits led by Flipkart-Walmart deal – Extra skilled expertise obtainable – Jio has remodeled segments akin to video and regional languages – Entry to the hinterland is way simpler

What hasn’t modified -Regulatory flux round startups -Few startups have made income – Restricted exit choices for buyers – Buyers are inclined to chase alternatives in herds – Investor give attention to returns hasn’t dimmed
“Extra persons are keen to again them. It’s a uncommon group of people that can preserve the starvation and fervour the second time round.” He contends that it isn’t solely the entrepreneurs who’ve scored massive which might be wanted. As an alternative, it’s the starvation of those that have failed however have the drive (or seemingly a blockbuster concept) which might be worthy of backing.

Amongst Prime’s portfolio, Swamy factors to Moneytap and Mfine as examples of getting backed individuals who have had profitable startup stints. In Moneytap’s case, the founders embrace a staff of profitable entrepreneurs (they bought Snapfish to HP for $300 million in 2005) and folks like Anuj Kacker and Kunal Verma who had failed with their earlier ventures.

Ashutosh Lawania
Ashutosh Lawania

Beforehand Cofounder of Myntra, on-line vogue bought to Flipkart

Is now Founding father of medtech enterprise Mfine

Star energy In a position to increase cash in a troublesome phase; lined up $17 mn-plus in June

“Our earlier expertise with Myntra was actually useful whereas elevating capital with Mfine”
Equally, Vijay Arisetty, the founding father of gated neighborhood tech platform Mygate, stuttered with earlier makes an attempt. Mygate has fared higher, elevating $9 million, led by Prime Enterprise in lower than two years from launch, and growth is underway to not less than a dozen cities.

Gupta isn’t revealing an excessive amount of about his new enterprise, despite the fact that there’s a fixed fixed buzz round how a lot funding he has raised and the way he could upend current fintech gamers. Nonetheless, he candidly admits that serial entrepreneurs like him additionally must sustain with a fast-changing market. “The market has modified massively since I final began up, and adapting shall be a problem,” he says.

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Thirukumaran Nagarajan
Thirukumaran Nagarajan-
“The enablers are in place to construct out a multi-billion greenback enterprise”

Beforehand Cofounder of Shout
Is now CEO and cofounder of B2B enterprise Ninjacart
Star energy Raised $100 mn in newest spherical of funding led by Accel


In Might 2014, Myntra, an internet vogue platform, was acquired for $300 million by Flipkart. Since that deal, each Ashutosh Lwania and Mukesh Bansal have flourished as serial entrepreneurs, founding medtech enterprise Mfine and health chain Treatment Match, respectively. Each have raised hundreds of thousands of in funding and development has blossomed.

“Our earlier expertise with Myntra was actually useful whereas elevating capital with Mfine,” says Lwania. Mfine right now has some 600 medical doctors and 150-plus hospitals on its platform and over 100,000 sufferers have used its AI-driven service.

Ashish Kashyap
Ashish Kashyap-
“The market has turn into much more aggressive and cluttered, even when there may be much more capital”

Beforehand Ibibo Group
Is now Founding father of IND Wealth S
Star energy Earlier enterprise acquired by on-line journey business chief Makemytrip


Whilst buyers chase these serial entrepreneurs, they’re additionally aware of the hazards of herd mentality, which has seen funding bets blowing up of their faces in recent times. Nath of Blume, for one, factors to sectors akin to meals tech that a few years in the past noticed a bubble, with some 30 to 40 startups making an attempt to outdo one another, funnelling hundreds of thousands of in VC cash to again unrealistic expectations, solely to see virtually all of it disappear.

“Buyers have additionally been burnt and have learnt the laborious approach¡Ok 2015-17 noticed a interval of over-investment, whereas by 2018 you noticed us enter a interval of rationalisation,” he argues. “Now with the expansion and hedge funds – and Softbank again in – we’re seeing an abundance of capital obtainable, however primarily for class leaders (or these getting there).”

Kunal Shah
Kunal Shah- “There’s nothing like the joys of beginning up”
Beforehand Bought Freecharge for $400 mn to Snapdeal
Is now Founding father of Cred, a fintech enterprise that has seen its valuation hit $500 mn in beneath 12 months
Star energy Between ventures, was an aggressive angel investor and advisor to Sequoia Capital


Even then, veterans akin to Ganesh warn in opposition to complacency from serial entrepreneurs. “Generally overconfidence and complacency can damage you… every enterprise is a brand new begin and as they are saying, previous efficiency will not be indicative of future returns.”

Whilst serial entrepreneurs collect in power for an additional go together with their newest ventures, they’ve a brand new world order to cope with.