Rajeev Singh-Morales, Founder and Managing Partner at Alma Mundi Ventures, discusses the Europe – US bridge for tech startups.
Sramana Mitra: Your name is so interesting. It seems like there is a whole story in your name and your firm’s name. Do you want to start with a little bit of background?
Rajeev Singh-Morales: I’m half Indian and half Spanish. I was born in Europe and raised here in Europe. I have lived and worked in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Our firm was born in Europe. We’ve invested in both US and Europe.
Sramana Mitra: Tell us about the charter and the investment thesis of Alma Mundi.
Rajeev Singh-Morales: We are just over $110 million in our core fund. We have a separate InsureTech fund which is about $90 million. It all totals to $200 million. We focus on the Spanish diaspora, or as we say in the US, Hispanic entrepreneurs. We are mostly B2B. We have done some B2C.
We generally focus on Series A. I know that the definition of Series A is an elastic definition, but we cater primarily to late seed, early Series A with valuations that are between $5 million and $40 million. We initially put in investments of $1 million and $2 million and eventually go to $5 million as we do follow-on rounds.
Sramana Mitra: When you say Spanish diaspora, is it entrepreneurs with companies in the US that are of Spanish or Hispanic origin?
Rajeev Singh-Morales: Our first two funds, which are closed now are for Spanish or Hispanic entrepreneurs based in Europe or US. Our new fund may have a slightly broader mandate, but we’re working on that right now.
Sramana Mitra: Talk about the companies you’ve invested in. Give us the flavor. Where did they come from? How did you encounter them and what did you see in them that led you to write that first check?
Rajeev Singh-Morales: Word of mouth becomes very important in terms of seeing deals. Don’t only look for venture capitalists, but talk to other entrepreneurs and get them to talk about who they’ve worked with, what funds they’ve contacted. That’s one of the better ways of reaching the right funds. That’s how we found the most interesting deals.
We focus on B2B companies. I can talk about some of the challenges that we see in scaling B2B. We look for companies where we can help. We call ourselves activist investors in the sense that we like to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We’re not simply going to put money in and wish you the best. I’m going to be there to help you. Ultimately, you are responsible for the firm.