Posted on Tuesday, Apr 20th 2021
If you have been bootstrapping and think you are ready for investors, you need to learn how investors think. First, please study our free Bootstrapping course and Investor Introductions page. Then start looking for entrepreneur – investor fit. Today I introduce you to Ravi Mohan.
Ravi Mohan is Managing Director at Shasta Ventures, a firm that has invested in three SaaS Unicorns. Ravi discusses these investments:
Apptio, Anaplan, and Zuora. You can listen to the podcast interview here and the entire roundtable program here: Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you and to Shasta. Tell us a bit about your background. As we are sitting in 2018, what is Shasta’s investment focus? Ravi Mohan: I’m very fortunate to be a venture capitalist. I began my career building software. I did that at three different companies. I started off working with large systems integrations company. Since I’ve been in the technology industry for quite a while, I began writing mainframe programs for them.
I then moved to a software company that ended up becoming Hyperion. Then I worked three to four years in India with my mother when we had a small software business building decision support systems. Our customers were large multinationals as well as large Indian businesses. We also did work in the Far East in countries like Singapore and Indonesia. Then I got my MBA.
For the last 22 years, I’ve been a venture capitalist focused on SaaS companies and infrastructure companies whose customers are other enterprises. Shasta is a classic early-stage West Coast-oriented venture firm. We’ve raised five funds and are currently investing in our 5
th fund which is a $320 million fund. We invest across stages. We do seed investment, Series A, Series B. Occasionally, we will do growth investment.
The areas that we focus on are B2B software, SaaS, B2C services, and emerging platforms. That includes augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics. We have seven investment partners and a small staff.
Sramana Mitra: Let me double-click down on a few things. First and foremost, you said West Coast-oriented but you also prefaced the introduction with your very deep background in India. How does that play in your investment activities today? Are you looking at companies that are Silicon Valley-headquartered that have a lot of India backend? Is it pure West Coast companies? Ravi Mohan: In terms of geography, we invest primarily in the West Coast where the headquarters of the companies are. That includes Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego. We also have made a series of investments in Austin, Texas and New York city. The reason we are not able to invest beyond these geographies is primarily that we’re not there enough to be able to work closely with the entrepreneurs that we back.
In terms of India and having a backend in India, many of the companies that we are invested in have engineering, product, customer success in India. It’s not a requirement that they have backend in India. They can have it anywhere. They can have the backend in Silicon Valley. The go-to market team has to be in the geographies that I mentioned.
Our conversation continues
here. This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to an Exit . Why is Bootstrapping Important? . How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently? . Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings . Excess is NOT Required for Success . Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later . Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies . The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit . Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to Unicorns More »» . Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million . Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue . Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million . Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy . How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million . Bootstrapping with a Paycheck . How Algo.ai CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan . Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses . How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million . Bootstrapping with Services . 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