Sanjay Enishetty: Fueling Entrepreneurship
Undeniably, money still remains the catalyst. How? Read on...
50K Ventures is a network of HNIs, accredited investors, and accomplished mentors, who are willing to contribute to the startup ecosystem at the national and the global level. Find out more as Swati Soni converses with Sanjay Enishetty, the founder of 50K Ventures.
The birth of 50K Ventures
My inner tech geek in me engineered my first startup. I went to tier- II and tier III cities to educate startup aspirants about technology. In 2014 a business circle from Rwanda contacted me and I helped them set up an angel network. During this time I met Vineel Nalla, now the co-founder of 50K Ventures, who liked the idea and wanted to invest in lucrative startups, and so the seed was sown. He invested and got good returns.
I come from a very humble background and do not hold any fancy degrees. But I’ve always had a dream to become an entrepreneur. In 2007, I volunteered for various NGOs that supported entrepreneurs, and then I joined a reputed angel network in Hyderabad, a funding agency, as a consultant. Call it being at the right place at the right time because this was at the very beginning of the startup revolution in India. By then I had garnered plenty of experience and was well-known in business circles.
Mode of Operation
The investor has to invest 50,000 dollars (minimum is 10,000 dollar) and we crossed the first milestone in 11 months itself, where we had the first exit of a tech-based company and my investors made 3x more than they invested. The core philosophy of the network is to create value for all stakeholders involved in building spectacular products and companies. The network comprises investors who are leading business leaders, technology visionaries and financial stalwarts from diverse sectors. Assisted by an able core team, 50K Network has provided funding and mentoring to startups across the country, and also consulting and strategic support to several other upcoming businesses.
We pursue a targeted approach to enable our portfolio companies to achieve the highest level of excellence. We believe in partnerships and the value addition they provide and walk the talk by working along with other leading angel networks, early stage venture funds, and accelerators. At 50K, we are well positioned to lead our startups through the cycle of prototyping, market validation, funding, and mentoring and market access. The trust that we have gained is a testament to the value we add!
We work basically on five parameters. The project should have a potential business model, market acceptance, the team, revenue generation, and it should be possible to get follow- on funding.
It wasn’t an easy road…
I was not backed by any company. It was very difficult for me to convince people about my ideas – even the startups. But I found a mentor in Sanjay Jasrani, former CEO of Hitachi and now chief advisor at 50K Ventures, and he guided me. Although this platform is for high- networth individuals, the selection criteria includes that members should add value to the startups and not just bring their bank accounts. The members are C-level executives, successful founders, domain experts of different companies.
50K Ventures stands out
The mentor-connect programme we have is revolutionary. This has helped many startups scale their business. We also offer various other programmes periodically. Currently, we offer a deep-tech programme called Avishakar, alongside the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Hyderabad, focused on technologies such as AI, natural language processing, machine learning, augmented reality, and virtual reality. Each selected startup will receive Rs 10 lakh seed funding, a co-investment from IIIT Hyderabad and 50K Ventures of Rs 10 lakh each. Also, we host garage stories regularly where successful entrepreneurs narrate their failures and challenges and how they overcame them.
We are starting an India Growth Story series, where I will travel across 30 cities and meet the enablers, for aspirants to learn about best practices.
We want to expand our ventures to different cities where we could find an anchor investor to lead the network. We have already started in Raipur, soon to be followed by Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore
What’s your take on innovative financial ventures like 50K? Please share your views.