Sramana Mitra: Just to complete that configuration question, because of our activities being global, we see companies everywhere. We see companies all over the United States. We companies in Europe. Many of them have aspirations of coming to Silicon Valley and set up their go-to market operation.
Maybe they do validation elsewhere, but they go beyond the validation phase in Silicon Valley. Is that something you’re seeing? I’m sure you’re seeing India but are you also seeing Silicon Valley go-to market but backend in other parts of the United States?
Ravi Mohan: Very much so. I do think that the business of creating technology startups that disrupt the status quo is a global business. You can look at Baidu and Tencent going after the Chinese market. You can look at Flipkart in India. They’re all fantastic companies. At the same time in B2B, you see companies get started in a variety of different geographies and look to tap into the US market and grow.
There have been a number of Israeli companies that have been successful in security space. There have been a number of Australian companies that have been successful. Atlassian is a good example. You’re starting to see some really interesting companies from Europe. Algolia for example. We’re seeing it more and more.
Sramana Mitra: When you say seed stage or early stage, define that for us. Let’s take B2B.
Ravi Mohan: This could be as early as an idea without a product. I’m on the Board of a company LeanData. I’ve known the entrepreneur for 20 years. He and I discussed the company that he wanted to start. Then he recruited a co-founder and built a business plan. That led to a million dollar investment from us. Now the company has 350 customers. It’s on its way to doing $15 million of contracted ARR. It has raised $18 million in total. We’ve been involved in all stages of investing in the company today.
Sramana Mitra: When you make that decision to invest in a concept-stage company, which very few investors do these days, is it a requirement that you’ve had a long-term relationship with the entrepreneur?
Ravi Mohan: I don’t think it’s a requirement. If we don’t know the entrepreneur as well but if we were still impressed and got to know him, we might work with him as an EIR and get to know each other better. The primary reason is, if you’re investing at an early stage, the key criteria of whether the enterprise is going to be successful is finding product market fit.
That discovery is a process that might take many different turns. There might be some positive turns and some negative turns in that process. To navigate that road in a constructive manner, trust is incredibly important. Understanding each other is important. That trust can be built over many years, but it can also be built in a shorter period of time.