Emerging Entrepreneurs

The thinking investor

N Ramakrishnan | Updated on January 23, 2018

Sameer Brij Verma, Director, Nexus Venture Partners, Bengaluru

Nexus Venture Partners is a seed- to early-stage investing venture capital firm with a little over $1 billion under management. It recently raised its fourth fund of over $400 million from which it has started investing. The VC firm invests anything from $250,000 to $10 million in the companies.

Its sweet spot, says 34-year-old Sameer Brij Verma, Director, is $2-5 million for a significant minority stake. It is quite often the first institutional investor in any venture. In almost 85 per cent of its investments, Nexus comes in when the start-up is still in its pre-product, pre-revenue stage. “Which means we come in very, very early. Mostly concept, team coming together, they have a broad idea. We look at the people, the idea, the market and judge where it is,” explains Sameer, of Nexus’s strategy.

Education: BS in Computer Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, where he was an international scholar and a Founders scholar.

Experience: Before joining Nexus Venture Partners in 2011, Sameer was one of the founding members of Reliance Capital’s venture arm, Reliance Ventures. At Reliance Ventures, Sameer led investments in companies such as Tessolve Semiconductor, Stoke, E-Band Communications and One97 Communications. Before joining Reliance, Sameer worked in Ericsson and UTStarcom, a telecom equipment company. After completing his Bachelor’s, Sameer worked in two start-ups in the US – one in Chicago and the other in the Bay Area.

Sectors interested in: Cross-border tech, that is companies that develop their products in India and whose market is the US, and domestic consumption companies, which are those in India with their markets also in India.

Investments: Sameer is on the board of Roadrunnr, Postman, Indix, CloudByte and DataGres Technologies.

Typical working day: You work with high-energy people throughout the day. It really depends on the situation. Typically meeting a lot of new companies and doing a lot of portfolio management. You are a thought partner for your portfolio companies. I would be talking to them or exchanging mails with them almost every day. Almost 40 per cent of my 14-15-hour working day goes towards portfolio management.

Hobbies: Reading. I read a lot of non-fiction. All kinds of books, mostly business books. I have been reading this book on holacracy, which is about a new kind of organisational structure.

Gadgets: I love all the Apple gadgets. I am a big fan of Apple. They are the benchmark for me. I like the Kindle. I like my audio conferencing system, my phone a lot. I stare at it almost five hours a day.

Advice to entrepreneurs: Think long and hard about what you will do in your business to give you a long-term sustainable and competitive advantage. And, how do you build the best product and take it to market? Concentrate on long-term sustainable advantage with a product -market fit and focus on technology. I would say any and every industry is going to be changed by technology.

Published on October 19, 2015

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