Varadarajan Krishna is an Executive turned Entrepreneur and Angel Investor with a track record in a career spanning over 25 years. Varad is currently engaged in building open innovation communities worldwide through Induct. He is also involved in a few global Start Up programs. Notable among them is the 100 Open Start Ups. The 100 Open Start-ups Movement connects Start-ups, entrepreneurs and scientists with the Innovation Strategy of large companies looking for solutions and opportunities for the challenges of society and the market. He is involved in various startups initiatives in India and worldwide as a mentor and Jury as way to give back to the global entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In an interaction with The Tech Pod, Varadarajan speaks about the investment scenario post COVID-19 era. Read more!
How soon do you think the investment scenario would be back on track in India?
At the present moment everyone is watching how the situation is evolving. The number and the quantum of new investments have reduced. The investors want to make sure that the startups in their existing portfolio survive through this crisis. Hence, they would pay attention to their portfolio first. All these doesn’t mean that there are no new investments is happening. It is happening for select cases based on priority sectors now like Healthcare, Food, Education, Security etc.
What are the hot investment sectors that you foresee emerging after the Covid-19 pandemic?
Without doubt its Healthcare, Food, Education, Security in that order.
What’s your advice to startups and entrepreneurs in these tough times?
You need to conserve resources for now and tightly control cash flows. Negotiate with your employees to take a pay cut. Same with your vendors/suppliers.
What are the 3 innovations that you have seen in the startup ecosystem which you believe will become mainstream.
There are many great innovations that have come out during this crisis and it’s across sectors. Hence, it’s tough to say which is the best. However, those that stand out are the ones that will find demand even in the post Covid scenario and can be repurposed for a larger problem. These are:
1. Social Distancing apps that helps one to stay safe now and it can transform as a personal security app.
2. Frugal ventilators that can transform as pure oxygen suppliers or as air purifiers.
3. Farm to Fork apps that were developed during these period have eliminated middlemen making fruits, vegetables and groceries more affordable to all sections of society. These apps will consolidate and transform the food supply chain in the post Covid era.
Are Indian investors gearing up for the post covid-19 era wherein they could lap up startups at better valuations, your thoughts?
In cases where the term sheets have been signed prior to Covid, they have to go through. But they will introduce new riders in cases where the terms are still being negotiated due to the changed business climate.
They will not go forward in many cases due to evolving situation. Startups that had high valuation earlier will definitely get beaten down now. Investors will tend to bargain hard. Founders will have to make a choice between survival and diluting at lower valuation.
COVID-19 has sparked a wave of innovation. How do you think innovation will shape the world after this pandemic?
Every crisis brings humanity together. Many businesses and business models that worked earlier will not work now and need to be repurposed. To overcome the new challenges in the present situation, even existing companies, as well as startups need to innovate to survive. This is the main reason for a flood of innovations all over the world.
How is 100OS working with startups and entrepreneurs and helping them tide these tough times?
As former serial tech entrepreneurs, the founder and cofounders of 100 Open Startups are contributing and sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise through one in one sessions, fireside chats, panel discussions, other events.
We are organizing innovation sourcing events like Hackathons, customer meet events and sessions in partnership with various players in the ecosystem. The idea is to bring all the stakeholders together more than ever before as we firmly believe in our vision – collaborate to co-create the Future!