SAM-inar: Every investment is an impact investment now
September 25, 2020 | New Delhi
The Firm organised a discussion on ‘Every investment is an impact investment now’, led by Siddharth Nair, Partner at our Delhi office. The discussion focused on the trends and shifts in the start-up funding space and venture capital industry in India and globally since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It featured senior venture capitalists as speakers, including Vishal Gupta, Managing Director, Bessemer Venture Partners; Shailesh Lakhani, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital; and Shiv Chaudhary, Managing Director, Norwest Venture Partners.
The discussion noted that as a fall out of the pandemic, there was greater momentum behind several digital businesses including EdTech, which, probably, is the biggest beneficiary in India in terms of funding in the last few months. At home consumption is another space where lot of capital has been invested, whether relating to healthcare, entertainment, education or other aspects of daily life. From an investors’ perspective, early stage investing is far more difficult in a remote working scenario with no scope for physical interactions with the Founder as compared to growth stage investing where there is lot of data available to support decision making. In the new normal, it was a bit hard to predict very accurately and thus, one has to take into consideration, a relatively bigger margin of error.
Given the way markets have treated different sectors over the last few months, the discussion introduced a very novel aspect, asking if there lay a responsibility on venture capitalists, to think beyond immediate returns and consider the long term health of various sectors, that may not look very viable in the current Covid scenario. The speakers pointed out that the primary responsibility of venture capitalists lies in giving back capital to LPs, however, there definitely is an intersect between responsibility and an attractive investment opportunity. Through every investment, whether by seeding new companies or investing growth capital, investors do create jobs and support the economy tremendously. Other aspects such as investment in healthcare and education technology help in widening people’s access to essential services and contribute towards improving the quality of their life.