Responding to a popular request, we are now sharing transcripts of our investor podcast interviews in this new series. The following interview with Sarbvir Singh was recorded in April 2019.
Sarbvir Singh, Managing Partner at WaterBridge Ventures, talks about the firm’s India-focused investment thesis.
Sramana Mitra: Tell us about WaterBridge Ventures. What are your activities? Where are you positioning this fund? How big is this fund?
Sarbvir Singh: WaterBridge is an early-stage investor in technology companies. The fund was started by Maneesh and me together. Our thesis is very straightforward. We believe that India is at the cusp of a major digital revolution in terms of access, devices, and consumers getting used to digital.
We believe this is a great time to be an early-stage investor in India. We believe that technology will disrupt large industries. That’s what we focus on. We focus on financial services, education, logistics, and healthcare. We tend to be the first institutional investor in startups. We help entrepreneurs on their journey at the very beginning.
Sramana Mitra: Let me double-click down on a few points. What is the size of the fund?
Sarbvir Singh: Our first fund is $30 million. We are almost three-quarters invested. We’ve made 16 investments. We’ve had one exit. We are now thinking about what comes next.
Sramana Mitra: What check sizes do you like to write?
Sarbvir Singh: We do three kinds of deals – seed, pre-Series A, and Series A. Our seed is anywhere between $200,000 and $400,000. Pre-Series A tends to be anywhere between $700,000 and a million. Then our Series A checks are between $3 million and $4 million.
Sramana Mitra: From a validation point of view, how do you define seed? How do you define pre-Series A and Series A? What are you looking for in terms of proof points and metrics?
Sarbvir Singh: It’s fairly straightforward. One of two things happens. Either the founder is somebody who has done it before or has a very clear point of view and we share that point of view.
Usually what happens is, it’s an area that we’re interested in, but we are not sure about the timing and we want to start with a small check. Those are the two kinds of seed deals that we do.
Pre-Series A is more traditional. It’s typically somebody who has raised some capital, who has some proof of concept, and where there’s a shared vision and there’s a conviction that they’re on the right track. Those are more traditional. Then Series A is a clear situation where there is a Proof of Concept. There is a reasonable team in play.
There, we’re really providing capital to grow a concept which is proven. Given the size of our fund, we can’t do too many Series A. Most of our Series A deals are either co-investments with our limited partners or shared with other partners.