Cloud Capital: 2020 Rewind
I founded Cloud Capital in 2020 to invest in early-stage startups that I deeply resonate with. While this pandemic disrupted our global economy (declining GDPs, trade lockdowns, stranded SMBs) and momentarily swole investor fear, it also acted as a catalyst forcing the world around us to digitize at an accelerated pace thereby creating a wedge for many startups to grow exponentially.
Starting my journey as a GP during one of the biggest Black Swan events in the lifetime of many (including myself) might come with its own challenges but it also allowed me to source and commit to competitive deals by proactively engaging and building rapport with founders in this new world of Zoom-investing. I felt that it slightly leveled the playing field for new investors in the ecosystem to sweep into rounds and kickstart their journeys.
Cloud Capital’s activity in 2020:
- Deployed ~$1.75M in 11 months
- Invested in 9 startups + participated in 2 follow-on rounds
- Aggregate portfolio market cap of $110M
- Round split: 3 Pre-seed + 4 Seed + 3 pre-Series A+ 1 Series A
- Median cheque size of $150k
- 55% B2B companies + ~45% B2C
- 66% co-invested with institutional investors such as Accel India, GFC, SRI Capital, Venture Highway, etc.
- 3 startups already raised follow-on rounds from Sequoia India, Redpoint Ventures, Accel India, and other undisclosed institutional investors
Few of our disclosed investments:
- Fitso (Sports): Building a full-stack sports ecosystem in India
- Rupifi (Fintech): Financial products for SMEs
- Airmeet (SaaS / Productivity): Remote collaboration platform to host virtual events
- Omnify (SMB SaaS): Booking management and commerce for recreational facilities
… and 5 other investments yet to be disclosed building within EdTech, DeepTech, SaaS, HealthTech, and other exciting domains!
Experience as a Solo-capitalist:
Running Cloud Capital has been a whirlwind of an experience and so far the most thrilling one as well. Few vital takeaways in the last few months:
- Conjuring conviction quickly is an under-appreciated skill. You can’t build conviction out of thin air if you’re unaware of the market and its dynamics; your thesis on markets gets polished every single day via micro-tasks such as interacting with startups, reading news, studying reports, etc. But a conviction for a startup can be built supremely quick, especially if you have your groundwork sorted. This is also infectious because focussed founders who are resolute about their mission most likely have their fundraising round cooked up and appreciate investors who can jump aboard quickly without wasting much time.
- You feel it in your gut. You can feel yourself getting excited about a particular opportunity over a call with the founders or while asynchronously studying a company’s deck. I realized that I mostly ended up investing in companies where I was totally blown away in my very first interactions with a team. Disclaimer — this may not always hold true.
- Making introductions to prospect co-investors: At first, I used to make quick email introductions post a double opt-in from either party but off late, I have started writing elaborate introductions. Your conviction and excitement for an opportunity needs to be conveyed to the ones you are introducing to, otherwise, you’re just another source of vague dealflow. Got inspired by going through Paul Graham’s emails to Fred Wilson introducing Airbnb.
- Get on those brainstorming sessions with founders whenever you get an opportunity to! — a simple catch-up call with founders can turn into an extended conversation about go-to-market, constructing rounds, sales strategies, etc. Probably the fastest way to accelerate your on-ground learnings.
One thing that has been reinforced this year is that entropy is ever-increasing and while I’ll steer away from predicting Cloud Cap’s activity in 2021, I am quite excited about what’s ahead for us and our portfolio founders!
Wishing everyone a very happy new year!