Virtu Propdeal looking to invest in AI and Fintech startups

The new age is all about artificial intelligence

Arpan Shah is Partner at Virtu Propdeal, an India focused fund specializing in real estate and technology investments. A student of Stanford University, he is a technologist, investor and data scientist.

He currently heads data engineering at Robinhood, a Fintech company in the Bay area. Shah has previous work experience in Microsoft, Tesla, Google and Fitbit. 

In a chat with Larry Bradley, he tells us about the fund and shares his thought on Fintech and AI:

What are the kinds of startups you are looking to invest in? How much will be the quantum of investments? 

We are looking to invest in AI and Fintech startups. Focusing on seed fund, we are primarily keen to make small early stage investments.

We usually invest in quantums ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, depending on the company. These investments usually are equity arrangements. Depending on the size of the round we may take a larger or smaller role at the company.

How do startups get in touch with you?

Startups could usually reach out to us via our details on the website, Often though, someone we know in the venture capital space in India introduces us. For us, these tend to be strong signals of confidence.


You bet big on startups on the AI and Fintech space. What are the prospects startups in this space have? 

Virtu Propdeal

Arpan Shah

The AI and Fintech space are areas of interest for us for a few reasons.

We see the artificial intelligence revolution much like the internet age or the industrial revolution. A lot of exciting applications in almost every industry will be made possible with AI. We want to be part of those applications.

Now I come to Fintech. There is a huge opportunity already being explored by a lot of Indian startups. These startups are bringing technology to the finance industry. The idea is to improve the quality of services and access across this space.

We see a large opportunity especially in tier-2 and tier-3 cities as well as in rural India. This segment of India will be one of the largest consumer bases in the next decade. We are extremely interested in working with entrepreneurs looking at this space.


How do startups choose the right investor for their businesses? 

I think investors play different roles at different times. The capital and the terms are probably the most important things that startups should factor.

But at an early stage it is also very important how much the investors are engaged with the company. Ideally, the investors don’t just invest their capital. They also invest their time and connections into the success of the startup.

What are the few important things to keep in mind when you have raised capital? 

I think a lot of startups in India focus on team building and hiring. But they don’t focus as much on growth and retention. All capital should be used to grow the customer or user base. A startup should make sure that these users and customers are engaged and retained. If a startup does nothing else and just that, it will be very successful.

Your thoughts on how the startup space in India is different from those in the Silicon Valley?

There are many differences. One important distinction is the lack of academia involvement in the startup ecosystem in India. For a very healthy ecosystem, it is important for researchers to play a role. They need to be involved in the commercialization of cutting edge technologies.

Is the new age all about investments into artificial intelligence, fintech and data technology? Do share your views.



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