“You Would Be Better Off Focusing On Basic Web 1.0 Business Models:” Avnish Bajaj


I am sure most of the readers know Avnish Bajaj. He is a successful Indian internet entrepreneur. He co-founded Baazee.com, an auctions portal, sold it off to eBay in 2004 for $50 million, and has been looking after eBay India’s operations as its chairman since then (click for his profile here). Bajaj and Rishi Navani, a former partner with WestBridge Capital or now known as Sequoia Capital India, recently floated a $150-million India VC fund – Matrix Partners India. They will focus on venture investing in consumer services, internet and mobile, media and entertainment, financial services, travel and leisure and so on.
ContentSutra catches up with Bajaj, the Founding Managing Director of Matrix Partners India. Excerpts:

You have raised $150 million for investing in Indian startups. What is the tenure of this fund?
[Avnish Bajaj] It is a 10 year fund – so we have a very long term horizon in mind and would like to invest in companies which can become meaningful in 3 – 7 years.

What will be your investment strategy and what kind of companies/sectors you like?
[Avnish Bajaj] We are a multi-sector, multi-stage consumer services investment firm – not a traditional early stage technology VC firm. More details are at www.matrixpartners.in.

It’s a cliched question to a VC. Nevertheless, we will ask that again. Isn’t too much money chasing too few deals in India?
[Avnish Bajaj] Yes, for later stage private equity (> $15 million) and no for early and growth stage (< $10 million). It would be good to draw a comparison with the US where there are more 1,000 VC firms – yet the top firms (maybe 10) generate most of the returns and do so consistently. In contrast, there are no more than 5-6 firms right now who even look at investment sizes less than $10 million – so the situation is not as dire as made out by the clich

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