Partner Who Helps Deliver Growth
‘My baseline premise is that India is on its way to becoming the next big market for technology companies’
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When Karan Mohla opened the Delhi office of IDG Ventures (a global family of venture funds) a few years ago, he was the first non-partner to do so. Since then, the Delhi-NCR region has nearly matched Bangalore in terms of deal flows and new investments for the fund (previously Bangalore was 2-3 times larger). This has also helped increase the footprint and visibility for the fund in the Delhi-NCR region. In the process, Mohla got elevated as Partner at IDG Ventures India as well as Head of Consumer Technology & Media.
Today, Mohla is the lead for fund-raising from Asia, as well as for developing relationships for the fund and portfolio companies. In addition, he also heads all fund-raising efforts from potential investors in north India.
Mohla, who has been with the fund since 2010, has worked on investments in companies including FirstCry, Xpressbees, HealthifyMe, Peel-Works, Flyrobe, POPxo, LittleBlackBook, Vserv, YourQuote, Tripoto and Yatra.com.
Besides, he has helped the fund close multiple investments across companies in new areas such as rental/sharing economy, digital media (content, commerce, community), omni-channel services, etc.
Some of the investment decisions and creating the opportunity to invest in these sectors ahead of time have resulted in the fund being seen as a market leader and a go-to fund for entrepreneurs.
The technology focused VC fund today has a team of 20 people across three offices in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.
“My baseline premise is that India is on its way to becoming the next big market for technology companies. We will grow at our own pace and have our own unique growth curve. India is not the next US or China, but the first to present a very unique and interesting platform for years to come,” says Mohla in a response to email queries from BW Businessworld.
According to Mohla, the fund looks to invest in companies and partner with entrepreneurs who are solving large and deep-rooted problems in India using technology. Job creation is the most visible impact that these companies have been able to demonstrate — collectively the 70-plus portfolio companies have generated employment for 60,000 people, he informs.
“It’s crucial to stay abreast of how behaviour and trends are changing on the ground — after a few years of investing, one realises it’s easy to have a point of view but if it’s different from the reality on the ground, then the view and your thesis based on that view will falter,” he says.
Over the next five years, Mohla says, he will strive to build and lead a global fund platform from India that focuses not only on venture capital investments in technology but also growth capital in technology and other enabled areas such as consumer, healthcare and education and becomes the go-to-fund for investors and entrepreneurs.
Prior to IDG Ventures, Mohla worked with QVT Finance LP, a US-based hedge fund and was a founding member of their Asia-Pacific practice.
Earlier, at Jefferies & Company (formerly Broadview International) in Silicon Valley, he advised several technology companies in the Internet, mobile and enterprise software space on capital raising, M&A and strategic partnerships. He also helped start the India office for Jefferies where he advised and executed financing strategies for companies in TMT (technology, media, telecom), CleanTech and education sectors. He completed over 20 M&A transactions and helped raised over $1 billion for corporates across India and the US.
A BBA from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and an EMBA from INSEAD, where he was the youngest graduate in the programme’s history, Mohla was among the 40 under 40 alternate investment professionals feted by the Indian Association of Alternative Investment Funds (IAAIF).
“Beyond just the financial returns from investments, I want to be able to create a long-lasting impact from my work and positively change the ecosystem of which I’m a part,” he says.