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Forbes India - The Startup Fridays Podcast

Forbes India - The Startup Fridays Podcast

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The Startup Fridays Podcast is a weekly podcast series where Forbes India's Technology Editor Harichandan Arakali brings you conversations with startup entrepreneurs who are finding opportunities in solving problems in multiple areas. From agriculture and satellite imagery to digital finance and cryptocurrencies, venture capital investors, and more, meet the change agents on this podcast, out every Friday
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In this episode, Sashank Rishyasringa, and Gaurav Hinduja, co-founders of Axio, a buy-now-pay-later specialist in Bengaluru, talk about how, while a strong regulatory environment is critical in fintech, it can also become an enabler of innovation. Lower cost of money for “new entrants and challengers” with innovative financial products can benefit …
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In this episode, Ashok Jhunjhunwala, institute professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and president of IITM Research Park, Incubation Cell and RTBI, talks about why the next big push is needed now for India to become a nation of deep tech products over the next decade. He also asks that administrators and bureaucrats change their co…
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In this episode, Vinod Shankar, founding managing partner at Java Capital in Bangalore, talks about his passion for backing deep tech entrepreneurs. Vinod started out as a software engineer but found himself repeatedly drawn to new experiences. His insatiable thirst for knowledge has taken him from a software startup to leading marketing for a libr…
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Welcome to a new season of Startup Fridays. In this episode, Karan Mohla, partner at the VC firm B Capital talks about the convergence that he sees beginning to happen, which is bringing different aspects of India’s startup ecosystem to points of inflection. Karan, who’s based in Delhi, has been involved with investments in more than 20 companies i…
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This is part two of a conversation with Kavita Shenoy and Anand Gopal, on their 10-year entrepreneurial roller coaster, building Voiro, an ad-tech SaaS company in Bengaluru. In today’s episode, they talk about how the $750 billion ad landscape is changing, their hopes for Voiro’s future, how building their own company has been life-changing, and wh…
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Part one of a conversation with Kavita Shenoy and Anand Gopal, on their 10-year entrepreneurial adventure, building Voiro, an ad-tech SaaS company in Bengaluru. Kavita and Anand are natural conversationalists and story tellers, and produce their own podcast as well. In today’s episode, they talk about how they started Voiro, and then went from cons…
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Viral Shah, co-inventor of Julia programming language and co-founder of Julia Hub, an enterprise software startup, talks about this opensource language’s journey that will touch 15 years in the new year. Julia Hub, founded in 2015, today has customers including some of the world’s biggest companies in pharmaceuticals, aerospace, semiconductors, and…
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In this episode, Amit Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Yulu Bikes, gives us an update on how the electric moped venture will continue its pincode-by-pincode approach to growth. Earlier this year, Yulu added a battery-as-a-service business, called Yuma. Yulu has also entered the OEM business, with Bajaj Auto making the Yulu Wynn, a more stylish version …
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In this episode, we chat with Kiran Mysore, a principal at the University of Tokyo Edge Capital, one of Asia’s biggest deep tech VC funds, on the ninth anniversary of his move to Japan, where he found his calling as a deep tech VC investor, leading global investments including India and southeast Asian ventures. We spoke mostly about his experience…
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Kunal Khattar, founding partner at AdvantEdge, an early-stage VC firm in Delhi, focused on India’s mobility sector, talks about the future of this industry in India and the role that companies ranging from Ather to Tesla could play in it. He also talks about business innovations that could soon make electric vehicles more affordable to the Indian b…
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Arun Raghavan, founding partner at Arali Ventures in Bengaluru, talks about how he and his friend Rajiv Raghunandan became VC investors with an operator’s flavour, and the experience that’s helped them invest very early in entrepreneurs across sectors, from fintech and SaaS to deep tech startups. Arun also talks about how India is ready for the nex…
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In this episode, TN Hari, co-founder of Artha School of Entrepreneurship, who’s also a prolific author on building for India, and an angel investor, talks about his learnings from across his career – from being a corporate executive at Tata Steel to diving into startups like TaxiForSure and BigBasket. He talks about problems in India that aren’t ne…
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In this episode, Shivnath Babu, co-founder and CTO of Unravel Data, talks about the growing importance of data observability and the contributions being made by his venture. Shivnath started his career as a computer science engineer from IIT Madras and then earned his PhD in the area of data platforms at Stanford University. He spent 12 years as an…
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In this episode, Will Poole, co-founder and managing partner of Capria Ventures, talks about the opportunities and challenges in investing in the global south. Will started his career with a computer science degree 40 years ago and worked at some of the biggest names in tech, including Sun Microsystems and Microsoft, before turning to VC investing.…
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In this episode, Dev Khare, a partner at Lightspeed, one of the most prominent global early-stage VC firms operating in India, talks about how and why he became a venture capital investor, and what keeps him going today. Dev also talks about how India’s startups are changing, how Lightspeed is different, in his view, and some lessons from his own c…
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In this episode, Sayandeb Banerjee, co-founder and CEO at TheMathCompany, talks about how his six-year-old venture has grown from strength to strength, building custom analytics solutions for some of the world’s biggest companies. He also talks about how he’s always had an entrepreneurial streak; the advantages of not taking VC money too early; les…
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In this episode, Rishi Navani, founder and managing partner at Epiq capital, a growth-stage VC firm, talks about never losing sight of the core idea of venture capital, which is to make substantial returns for his investors. Over the 25 years that he’s been backing ventures, including previously co-founding Matrix Partners India, Navani’s way of do…
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In this episode, Arun Kumar, managing partner at Celesta Capital, talks about why some of the best VC investment opportunities can be found in tough times, as they reveal the most resilient entrepreneurs. Kumar’s career includes leading KPMG India and serving in former US President Barack Obama’s administration. He also talks about embracing change…
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In this episode, Shashank Bijapur, Madhav Bhagat and Rohith Salim talk about how they got to build SpotDraft, which offers a machine learning and AI-based contract lifecycle management platform to legal teams at companies around the world. Founded in 2017, SpotDraft has helped customers process more than a million contracts since the company releas…
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In this episode, Ganesh Rengaswamy, co-founder and managing partner at Quona Capital, looks back at how he once juggled being a co-founder at Travel Guru and an MBA student at Harvard Business School, and what he would have done differently. Ganesh also talks about Quona’s deep interest in fintech in India and several other markets; and how India’s…
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In this episode, Nishchay Ag, co-founder and CEO of Jar, talks about how there is a massive addressable gap in India's middle class with financial products that go beyond the top 30 million that everyone is targeting. Nishchay talks about how he and his friend Misbah Ashraf went from a few WhatsApp group pilots to 10 million users at Jar, in just t…
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In this episode, Bala Srinivasa, managing director at Arkam Ventures, talks about experiences from the firm’s first set of 14 investments so far from their $106 million inaugural fund. Over the last four years, Srinivasa, and his fellow founding partner Rahul Chandra, have backed entrepreneurs who have successfully applied technology to create busi…
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In this episode, Nitin Chhabra, co-founder and CEO of Ace Turtle, a tech-enabled retail business that’s the force behind brands like Lee and Wrangler in India, talks about how the company started out as a SaaS business, selling software for the so-called omnichannel retail. Nitin and co-founder Berry Singh then decided to risk that entire business,…
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In this episode, Suresh Sambandam, founder and CEO of OrangeScape, better known for its product Kissflow, talks about persevering for over 15 years, before he found himself at the right place at the right time offering the right product. Suresh now dreams of making his company at least one of the top three in the world in its category. He also talk…
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In this episode, Ben Mathias, managing partner at Vertex Ventures for Southeast Asia and India, talks about how he decided to leave behind a nice life in the software industry in Silicon Valley, to come to India as a VC investor. With over three decades in the tech and VC industry combined, Ben talks about what investors did to startups over the la…
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In this episode, Anjani Bansal, partner and India country head at Global Brain, a Japanese VC firm, talks about why certain opportunities in small-town India are ready for startups to grab and create disruptive innovations. The time is also right for Global Brain to step up its own operations in India, Bansal says, who is looking to grow his team a…
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In today’s episode, Rahul Garg, founder and CEO of Moglix, talks about what’s next for the company, which he says is knocking on $600-700 million in revenue. He also talks about his love of solving not just difficult problems, but difficult and large ones, which feeds his entrepreneurial decisions. Aspiring founders must understand this, and prepar…
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In today’s episode, Cody Friesen, founder and CEO of SOURCE Global, talks about his dream of putting to bed one of humanity’s biggest and most urgent problems—the lack of access to clean drinking water for billions around the planet. Friesen is a scientist, engineer, teacher and entrepreneur. In this conversation, he also reflects on his approach t…
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Our guest today is Anand Lunia, general partner at IndiaQuotient, a well-known domestic VC firm that backs entrepreneurs attempting to solve large problems for the Indian market at even “concept stage.” In this episode, Anand talks about how 2021 was an exception, and for the startup ecosystem to come back to its mean, two-thirds of the startups ma…
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Our guest today is Madhu Shalini Iyer, a partner at Rocketship.vc—a Silicon Valley-based fund investing globally. Iyer started out with an engineering degree from the University of Sydney. In her 20-plus years as an engineer, operator and investor, her previous roles include chief data officer at Gojek, which she helped to grow into a business valu…
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Our guest today is Sriram Viswanathan, the founding managing partner at Celesta Capital. In this episode, Sriram talks about his long association with technology and investing in deep tech companies, and Celesta’s strategic focus on the US-India corridor. He also has some experience to share with deep tech entrepreneurs, in areas including product-…
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Our guest today is Sanjay Jain, partner at Bharat Fund and chief innovation officer at CIIE.co. Sanjay, who played a leading role in building Google’s Map Maker, and later was the founding chief product manager at UIDAI, talks about his journey going “from doer to enabler.” With a master’s in computer science from UCLA, and experience as a serial e…
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Our guest today is Srikanth Velamakanni, cofounder, group CEO, and vice chairman of Fractal Analytics, which as the name suggests, provides deep analytical insights to customers in a range of verticals, including retail, financial services, and healthcare. Srikanth co-founded Fractal in 2000, and it turned unicorn earlier this year. The real aspira…
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Our guest today is Grace Sai, cofounder and CEO of Unravel Carbon, a company that is making it easier for businesses to track and reduce their carbon emissions, with a focus on Scope 3 emissions and Asia. Grace is a serial entrepreneur and also a VC investor as a Kauffman Fellow. She has an MBA from the University of Oxford (where she was a Skoll S…
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Our guest today is Ajeet Singh, cofounder and executive chairman of ThoughtSpot. In 2009, he co-founded Nutanix with Dheeraj Pandey and Mohit Aron. Today, it is a listed company in the US with $1.2 billion in ARR. In 2012, he co-founded ThoughtSpot with Amit Prakash. The company is seen as a leader in enterprise data analytics. At its last funding …
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Our guest today is Smita Deorah, co-founder and Co-CEO of Boulevard Leadership, better known for its edtech business LEAD. Smita and her husband Sumeet Mehta started LEAD in 2012. Today the company reaches a million students in 3500 schools in more than 400 cities in India. It is now a unicorn, privately valued at more than a billion dollars, by in…
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Our guest today is Pawan Kumar Chandana, co-founder and CEO of Skyroot Aerospace. Pawan and Naga Bharath Daka, both former ISRO engineers, started Skyroot in 2018 and over the last four years they—and their team of 200—have reached a point where their next big step will be the space flight of their first rocket, Vikram I. Earlier this week, they al…
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Our guest today is Ashutosh Sharma, head of investments in India for Prosus, one of the world’s biggest technology investors. In this episode, Ashutosh, who has led Prosus’s investments in India for some six years, talks about how an emerging trend in the country’s startup ecosystem is led by entrepreneurs “building in India for India.” That is rea…
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Our guest today is Bobby Balachandran, founder, president, and CEO of Exterro Inc., which provides a sophisticated tech platform for global corporations to better manage their governance, risk, and compliance needs. Bobby started out with a BSc in computer science from Government College of Technology in Coimbatore in South India, and an MS in from…
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In this episode, Krishna Rangasayee, founder and CEO of SiMa.ai, a 30-year veteran of the semiconductor industry, with more than 25 patents to his name, talks about why the edge is the new battleground. He also delves into the reasons that compelled him to take his first entrepreneurial plunge after a long corporate career, building a cross-border …
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Our guest today is Aditya Prakash, co-founder and CEO of Skidos Labs, an award-winning maker of a children’s educational apps company headquartered in Denmark. Aditya co-founded Skidos in 2013, which today offers a software development kit that can infuse math education for children into any game. Before Skidos, after an MBA from the Indian School …
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Our guest today is Rajesh Jain, founder and group MD of Netcore Cloud. In the world of entrepreneurship, he is best known for selling one of his earliest ventures, IndiaWorld Communications, to Sify—then Satyam Infoway—for $115 million, in 1999, one of the biggest internet deals of the time in Asia. Jain founded Netcore in 1997, and has bootstrappe…
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Our guest today is Vinay B Nair, Founder and CEO of TIFIN, which is a fintech venture in the US that provides technology and expertise to business clients to apply AI to personalise their financial products and services to their end customers or consumers. Vinay has a chemical engineering degree, and a doctorate in finance and economics. He founded…
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Our guest today is Sunil Thomas, co-founder and executive chairman of CleverTap, which provides a software platform that a large number of brands around the world use to better engage with their customers. Sunil started with a computer science degree, and in a career that spans more than 30 years now, he has held several top jobs in tech and busine…
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Our guest today is Sandeep Farias, founder and managing partner at Elevar Equity, an early-stage VC firm that backs entrepreneurs who are solving large problems for the low and middle-income communities in India and Latin America. In this episode, Sandeep talks about the ‘Elevar Method’ for identifying ideas that could become enduring businesses wi…
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Our guest today is Madan Padaki, founder and CEO of 1Bridge, which provides a host of services in small towns and villages, linking brands and businesses with India’s rural economy, and creating micro-entrepreneurs from among the rural youth. In this episode, Madan, who is an entrepreneur and angel investor, talks about how rural youth have the sam…
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Satya started life in a village, some 80km north of Jaipur city, in Rajasthan. He earned a chartered accountant’s qualification and attended an advanced management programme at Harvard Business School. In a career that spans more than 30 years, he rose to become a top executive in private banking, first at ICICI Bank, in Singapore, and then at Barc…
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Our guest today is Pratap Raju, founding partner of Climate Collective, an organisation that is building a platform to accelerate climate tech startups in India, by catalysing stronger linkages between the startups and large corporate buyers and users of their solutions. He is also the founding partner of a VC fund, Climate Seeds Fund, providing se…
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Our guest today is Rajiv Srivatsa, partner and investor at Antler India. Rajiv’s career spans going from software engineer at Infosys to product developer at Yahoo! to entrepreneur as co-founder of Urban Ladder to VC investor. In this episode, he talks about how each stage was the realisation of his overarching desire to always mentor people and ta…
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Our guest today is Rohan Verma, CEO and executive director at MapmyIndia, a Mumbai-listed company in the areas of digital mapping, geospatial technologies and automotive mobility technologies. In this episode, Rohan talks about why he is optimistic that a serious tech product ecosystem will emerge in India over the next five years. He also hopes th…
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