Raghu Vohra Angel Investor – BIM Markets, Entrepreneur, ExecTeam, two startups in fintech, on my 3rd sortie.Dog lover, java junkie – chase data,ideas,metrics,deals!
Your background? What lead you into what you do now?
Always been in interested Finance, from my younger days and with the advent of y2k moved to Technology. I found FinTech was interestingly poised in early 2000s and I wanted to work with large Asset Managers and knew that technology would be the single most critical function in delivering compelling results – whether it was performance, transparency or legislative needs.
What are your 2 fintech startups ? Why will they be successful?
I was very fortunate to work with and get mentored by Dave @Codelab & then [email protected] I learnt a great deal from them, not only how to run a business but deal with operational, delivery, scaling challenges and provide world class customer service. Both are/were very successful fintech startups – both got acquired. Codelab in ’08 or ’09 and Bonaire in ’12.
Codelab targeted Institutional Traders/PMs performance using “big data” analytics when it was not the hottest buzz word around and Bonaire brought in huge efficiencies in Revenue Management cycles for Asset Managers.
How was the last 12 months?
It has been very busy. I took a break early last year – spent a few months in China (my wife was in Shanghai as an expat), visited Dubai, India, UK,Switzerland – met up with old friends & family to recharge and also see/learn what is happening around the world.
— Raghu Vohra (@BlackstoneVG) October 2, 2015
Anything you’d do differently?
Yes not repeat my mistakes again (Laughing)
What are trends you excited about for the future of fintech?
Most of the innovation/disruption in fintech is still retail oriented meaning – innovation is being driven for consumers. There are lot of opportunities to disrupt the enterprise space and we are slowly starting to see that coming into play whether it is Backbase, Figo, Fidor or Deposits(which intersects consumer/enterprise)
Boston / LA / Bangalore – that’s 3 very far apart cities, how do you manage that? / What’s the reason for being located there?
Boston was/is home for 12 years, I just moved to LA a year ago for my 3rd sortie. Both places have friends, work, network – so I call both of them home. Bangalore is home to family & friends.
It is also home to CapitalMind, led by @DeepakShenoy, where I am an investor and board member. Plus Bangalore is the tech hub of India and every visit it is amazing to see the innovative ideas flowing, just like Dubai, Dublin or Silicon Valley – ecosystem is often underrated for startups but it is a very important factor in helping startups succeed especially for first time founders and entrepreneurs.
Introducing The Modi Index by Capital Mind http://t.co/GP9vPXOLtx
— Capital Mind (@CapitalMind_In) February 18, 2015
Angel investor – what do you look for when investing?
Founder Integrity, Idea Validation, Market Opportunity, Fit.
Tips to startups to succeed?
Get a co-founder. Understand your market/tech/customer at an deep domain expertise level. Go to market with with an early MVP – solicit feedback not only from social media channels but get in front of real people, prospective users – discuss pricing upfront, dont’ be shy/coy about it. Get experienced folks as Board Members, limit the “free” advisers and lastly strive to build a business, the rest will take care of itself.
— Raghu Vohra (@BlackstoneVG) October 10, 2015
Life / work / online / offline how do you navigate a balance between these demands?
Honestly – I am still trying to make the life/work balance work:). I am in awe of other folks who can do it. I try to work effectively in blocks and then spend time with family in the same way – blocks of time. However, there is a fire to fight, last minute changes to a contract, dog just destroyed my phone (true story), team member leaving unexpectedly, last minute board conference call – all which needs attention. I try to prioritize and deal with things as they come up. The one thing, I do is to make one of the days on the weekend a non-screen day where I make an deliberate effort to not be in front of a screen – doing work 🙂 instead focus on spending time with family and friends.
What’s your take on the Irish tech scene from where you’re sitting?
I am very bullish on the Irish tech scene. If you look at some of the earlier startups Datahug or Trustev and the some of the recent start ups out of Dublin – Stripe, Bynk, Way2Pay, Waratek, Fenergo, Coryltics,GridFinance – you will find a common DNA reflecting the years of Ireland’s pension funds industry experience – showcasing a domain level financial expertise in enterprise and technology – an ideal place for fintech startups to be. Look at the work you are doing with IrishTechTimes, connecting entrepreneurs/investors around the world to highlight the Irish startup scene. Now there is the top conference for Startups – WebSummit – hitting up Dublin. All in all, I am very optimistic about the future.
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked you?
I hope the Irish Govt.provides the necessary framework, incentives to foster an environment for startups and encourage innovation, hope the tax rates are competitive:) Are they