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1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Karthee Madasamy, Founder and Managing Partner at Mobile Foundation Ventures (Part 2)

Posted on Friday, Jul 16th 2021

Sramana Mitra: Your portfolio is almost entirely enterprise-focused companies, right? You do B2B enterprise businesses?

Karthee Madasamy: That is correct. 

Sramana Mitra: Let me underscore what you are saying. When we started getting into this COVID mode of doing business, the buyers were not used to buying technology just based on a Zoom meeting. This is true unless it is a small deal size telesales-oriented sales flow.

In larger enterprise deals, that does not work well. People are used to meeting in person. Would it be fair to say that one of the lessons that COVID has achieved has been to train enterprises to buy technology purely based on Zoom interactions?

Karthee Madasamy: Yes, that is one of the biggest outcomes. The necessity probably drove it.  They realized that all these technologies need to be adopted for their productivity or the proper working of their enterprises. The biggest outcome of this thing is people doing large sales decisions through Zoom or largely remote discussions. That is the biggest outcome. Increasingly, people are becoming more comfortable.

Our portfolio has a mix of software and hardware. For the hardware, there are warehouses and others that have been open. They have been more open through the pandemic than the offices. Some demos and some proof of concepts could be shown to customers. These are warehouses that use a robot or an IoT platform. There is a little bit of advantage to be able to at least show things from your warehouse. In large, the biggest outcome and the biggest learning is that people have learned to do the entire sales process on Zoom. 

Sramana Mitra: This is going to have far-reaching consequences because we work globally. Technology companies and software companies, in particular, are being developed all over the world today. All of these software companies want to actually sell globally. This is going to be a very interesting learning going forward. That is going to make it viable for a much larger number of technology vendors who actually start selling as small startups to be able to start selling to global enterprises. That is a positive outcome of COVID. 

Karthee Madasamy: I agree. Some of the old rulebooks could be now turned over. Earlier, you had to have a big team. Some things can be now remote. A lot of people can work remotely and manage this process. That definitely enables these global technology solutions. This is especially true for a small company where you couldn’t put different teams in different places. 

Sramana Mitra: You have done four new deals in the last 15 months while COVID has been going on. Do these companies have COVID-related dynamics or they are just regular deep tech companies that follow your regular evaluation principle? 

Karthee Madasamy: We didn’t change a lot of our criteria because of COVID. We were not focusing specifically on COVID-accelerated businesses. There are factors that influence some of those things. For example, we did a human robotics company, which will go into warehouses and factories. It’s called agility robotics.

What pandemic accelerated was this e-commerce phenomenon. It has always been a sizeable market, but then it just accelerated. More and more e-commerce warehouses and factories realize that the way to increase productivity is actually to use robotics. It’s not necessarily replacing people, but you need to add robots along with people to get the productivity gains that you need.

The COVID factor helped that, but you would have invested in that technology without COVID as well. There are impacts like that based on COVID. Otherwise, we try to stay with good companies and larger macro trends. These technologies are disrupting the way these traditional industries are behaving or operating. That is where we went by.

A lot of them got accelerated through COVID, but we didn’t specifically focus on the future of work, remote education, and other such things. Our focus has been deep tech. We saw some acceleration of technology adaption, but we try to stay neutral. 

This segment is part 2 in the series : 1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Karthee Madasamy, Founder and Managing Partner at Mobile Foundation Ventures
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