Q&A with Matrix's Rishi Navani on seed programme; To invest in Internet, mobile

10 Jul, 2012

Matrix Partners India, a venture capital investment firm with Rs 3,000 crore ($536 million) under management, has launched a seed-stage investing programme, aimed at companies operating in the Internet and mobile space. The firm has recently invested an undisclosed amount in Indore-based mobile app development firm Twist Mobile and is planning to invest in a stealth mode Internet company (name not disclosed) in the social commerce space.

Matrix usually targets companies operating in education Internet, mobile, financial services, education, healthcare and consumer (largely retail and FMCG). Matrix's investment portfolio includes Muthoot Finance (gold loan NBFC), Quikr (online classifieds), Tree House Education (preschools and K-12 school management) and U2opia (social mobile apps), among others.

In an e-mail interaction with Techcircle.in, Rishi Navani, managing director of Matrix India, talks about the new programme and the idea behind choosing seed-stage investing. Here are the excerpts.

Why has Matrix chosen seed investing? Do you think seed-stage investing is the ideal way to tap into the startup community?

With almost a billion mobile subscribers in India, the mobile space is certainly a key focus area for new investments. The primary reason for establishing a mobile & Internet seed-stage investing programme is to work with exceptional entrepreneurs at the formative stage of their companies. We will continue to make initial investments up to 75 crore as we have done in the past.

How much amount has been set aside for seed investing?

We don't do target-based investing. We will invest whatever is required in a specific case.

What will be the average seed investment in a company?

There is significant flexibility on this front, based on specific situations and requirements.

Will you have a separate team looking at seed investment?

No, our Internet and mobile investment teams will handle it.

What are the opportunities you are looking at?

Fundamentally, we are looking to back high quality entrepreneurs who are focused on interesting opportunities within the Internet and mobile space. The recent investment in Twist Mobile, a promising mobile games startup, is Matrix's fourth investment in the mobile sector.

Are you trying to become a one-stop destination for entrepreneurs seeking early-stage funding?

No, we don't have such plans.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)