A versatile start-up specialist

N Ramakrishnan | Updated on January 24, 2018

Sasha MirchandaniManaging Directorand Founder, Kae Capital

After working in the family business (Onida group) in various roles, Sasha Mirchandani started his own venture, then was the India head of a Valley-based venture capital firm. He is the Managing Director and Founder of Kae Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm. It raised its first fund of $25 million in 2012, which it has more or less invested, barring for some follow-on investing.

Kae Capital is a sector agnostic fund and invests in companies that use innovative solutions to bridge gaps in the market. The sectors that it looks at are mobile, e-commerce, education, healthcare and consumer interest.

Education: Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Strayer University, USA, and MMDP programme at IIM-Ahmedabad.

Prior experience: Worked in multiple capacities, including as a Sales Manager, in Onida. When the family decided to professionalise the management, by separating ownership from management, Sasha started a venture in the BPO space that he sold after a few years. He was then India head for Blue Run Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that invested in start-ups in the mobile space. Sasha was also instrumental in helping found Mumbai Angels, a network of wealthy individuals that invests in and mentors start-ups.

Sectors interested in: Any sector with a strong technology differentiator, because tech capital efficient.

Investments: Have done three buckets of investments – one, between 2002 and 2004, which I did in my personal capacity; then during 2006-11, mainly through Mumbai Angels, but again my personal funds; and, now through Kae Capital. The companies include InMobi, Fractal Analytics, Healthkart, TrulyMadly, SysCloud and The Porter.

Typical working day: Three days a week, I work out. Three days I play squash and the seventh day, I swim. I am in office by 8-8.15 every morning and get back home by 8-8.30. During the day, it is meetings with portfolio companies, looking at new ventures, conference calls with founders of portfolio companies. These conference calls continue even after I get back home.

Hobbies: I read a lot. I travel so much that it gives me time to read. It can be on anything. A recent book I read was about the Versace family and another one on the founder of NetApp. It is diverse. I like to mix it up.

Gadgets: I had a bad habit of buying all gadgets that came into the market, till I realised that I had a whole lot of stuff that I had never even used. After that I have completely changed and stopped buying gadgets for the sake of buying them. Now, it has to be utilitarian and I have to use them regularly. But it has to be the best. My phone is an iPhone6 as I use it constantly.

Advice to entrepreneurs: I can only recall a powerful quote of Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos), “chase the vision, not the money.” People should not get into entrepreneurship for the wrong reasons.

Published on July 27, 2015

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