Since I last wrote to you in September 2020, a country that was hesitantly emerging from the lockdown has begun to charge ahead with renewed vigour. If the conversation during the nine months from March to December were mostly about the lockdown and the seemingly unstoppable spread of COVID19, the start of the new year has seen a complete change in the mood of the nation.
We have seen the stock market’s resurgence to record highs, quarterly financial results by benchmark companies indicate that the economy is clearly getting back on track, the rollout of the vaccine within India – and to partner countries – is a sign of hope translated into action. And, to top it all, India’s victory over Australia in the last test match, symbolises a new world order led by India’s youth with a confident, entrepreneurial mindset and a never-say-die challenger attitude.
It is this same attitude that has enabled our startup founders to not just endure the pandemic through 2020, but also emerge stronger from the experience. As I had reported earlier, we were among the first to spot the signs and urged our portfolio companies to buckle down and consolidate every rupee. Through a series of measures, continual advisory sessions and sharing of best practices, we ensured that every single startup weathered the storm so that they would first survive.
But, they say, “to survive, is to live with what is left” – and that is not why we are in business. We exist not merely to live but to grow and scale our investments so that you, in turn, get handsome returns on the trust you have placed in us.
Over the last few months, we switched gears and changed pace to prepare our founders and their teams for a re-emergence from the year that was:
• Just as the year was ending, on December 30, Manoj Kohli, Country Head, Softbank India, spent the better part of that morning in a call that was attended by all our founders as he shared invaluable lessons on leadership and scaling up to meet the demands of global markets. Since then, he has been in active discussions with several of our portfolio companies to advise them.
• A week later, continuing our ‘Friday with Faith’ webinar series, we held an insightful and highly interactive discussion on the ‘Work From Home’ experience with founders of aahaa Technologies, Lavelle, Momspresso and Miko in a panel discussion.
• And, less than a fortnight later, an industry expert on the power of Storytelling captivated our entrepreneurs and opened up new opportunities: several of the attendees will shortly be attending a four-month long workshop on improving their pitches and packaging their brand stories better.
With our focus for 2021 on exits, we continue to ensure that our startups are prepared for a period when they will not just survive but thrive. In the true spirit of Challengineering, our leaders have shown remarkable resilience and reimagined their businesses. In the days ahead, I am confident of sharing more good news and we remain even more optimistic about the future.
I would also like to conclude this report by sharing exclusively with you that, buoyed by the market trends and the performance of our existing funds, we will shortly be launching our third fund – the US$ 100 mn ‘YourNest Innovative Products VC Fund III’. It will be focused on startups from India that are developing life-changing products for international markets using disruptive technologies. These will include domains spanning AI, AGI, Edge. Cloud, digital Security & Identity, IoT, Advanced Robotics and Electronic System Design. I will share more details soon and look forward to welcoming you on board as an early investor.
Thank you, once again, for your continued support and faith.
Stay safe, always.
Sunil K. Goyal
Managing Director & Fund Manager
February 17, 2021