Sramana Mitra: There is one question that I want to ask you today. In the deal flow that you are seeing and your analysis of the market, what are some open problems that you have identified where you are looking for deep tech teams to solve those problems? Are there any that you are looking to invest in?
Karthee Madasamy: We are more thematic than very tight thesis-driven. We look for large deep tech-related transformations in traditional industries like automotive, manufacturing, agriculture, and biology. We don’t try to figure out the exact market problem. We let the entrepreneurs bring that to us. They are the ones on the ground looking at the problem.
With that said, we are looking at areas around agriculture and manufacturing. We see manufacturing going through a transformation over the next few years. In the last few years, we have started to see the seeds being sown. We are looking for companies trying to disrupt that. Another area that we are looking at is computational biology. This is where computer science and vertical engineering are influencing the way drugs are discovered and managed. We are looking at that as well.
We are not a biotech fund, but we are looking for more computer science-led innovation in some of these areas. Those are some of the high-level thematic stuff that we look at. If you look at our first fund, a lot of the theme was around computer vision and video, because we saw the explosion of that. Looking forward, manufacturing, agriculture, a little bit of space, and computational biology are some of the themes are we are looking at.
We think that those are some of the themes that we think are large markets that need to be transformed. These are sectors that spend a lot of money as well. There is a lot of work to be done.
Sramana Mitra: Does the team need to be in Silicon Valley? What is your geographical parameter now?
Karthee Madasamy: We work globally. We have partnerships with early-stage funds in India, Israel, and Europe. It does not have to be in Silicon Valley or North America for that matter. We are a North America-focused fund. In early stages, it is hard to manage when you are far away.
That is the one good thing about deep tech. Deep tech is deep tech. If it is applicable for one geography, then it’s going to be applicable in another. The US is also ahead in terms of adopting new technologies. Many of these deep tech companies, wherever they are, have a strong focus in terms of selling to US customers. We look for some plans to be in North America to be helpful as well.
They don’t need to be in Silicon Valley. We just focus on where we can help. If the startup is in India and the product is for customers in India, how can we in Silicon Valley be able to help? In that case, we tend to pass that on. There are no restrictions but we look for areas where we can help. A lot of times, the companies have a North American focus.
Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time.