Sramana Mitra: You were okay with them coming to you with a business model hypothesis or a use case hypothesis, but not necessarily a completely validated use case hypothesis?
Arihant Patni: Yes, exactly.
Sramana Mitra: Okay, that’s good. That’s actually brave. Investors tend to want everything validated before they’re willing to play.
Arihant Patni: That’s why I brought this one up because it’s actually very easy to invest in an already cooked up story. Sometimes we have to go out on a limb and take these risks.
The next one that I’m going to talk about is something that, as a structure, I love. It’s a company called SimYog. SimYog is actually born out of the Indian Institute of Sciences and the founder is a PhD from IISc. He basically has built a software simulation model for electromagnetic interference.
Again, we’re looking at very deep tech and solving a problem where sensors correlate with one another. Think about autonomous vehicles and about mobility and how interference can cause a lot of issues that could be potentially dangerous. This company was also part of the Bosch ecosystem. We actually met the guy and we thought that the company had legs. They were getting a lot of tech acceptance from their universe.
Then we created a structure where Bosch, IISc, and Ideaspring came together along with the founder to fund the company and help him build it further. It’s a really great example of academia meets corporate venture meets traditional venture capital, and pairs up with very accomplished founders as well.
Sramana Mitra: In this case, what’s the use case? How much of that use case was visible when you came in?
Arihant Patni: In this case, Bosch had already tested the use case. There’s a lot of friction when you have to test how sensors work together on a device. We learned this through the founder, but apparently you have to do it physically. You have to book a specific room and have specific equipment to go and test these sensor interferences.
Every time there’s a slight change, you have to do it all over again. We’re not talking about two sensors, we’re talking about thousands. Because in today’s world, everything is radiating data waves. So, Bosch had already given validation to what these guys were doing.
That gave us a lot of comfort admittedly. To be completely candid, I don’t think we could have, by ourselves, validated this particular use case. It really helped having an industrial leader do that.
Sramana Mitra: Absolutely. That’s happening more and more. All the corporate started realizing that they need to have a foot in the innovation ecosystem. Many of them are doing accelerators and internal innovation programs.
We’re actually quite active with some of them and their innovation work. It’s becoming more and more accepted that the corporate has to do something in their ecosystems.