2020 has surprised Sajith Pai, a senior member of the investment team at Blume Ventures, in many ways. One, how quickly the venture industry and start-ups adapted to the upside-down world. Two, the direction in which money has flown, and three, the willingness of users to pay for services they had never paid for before. Pitches and deals are being made faster than before, angels and super angels are swooping in, and it has become easier to convince parents to pay for edtech. If you think about it, why wouldn’t they pay, if the tech can keep the brats occupied for an hour longer and productively? Edtech is one area the VC seems bullish about. In fact, this November, Blume participated in a Rs.200-million, Series A round in Uolo, a platform that helps schools and parents communicate. Pai shares what else is keeping him pre-occupied.
How has 2020 changed venture investing?
Initially, in April and May, there was a lot of worry as the lockdown stopped business for several of the start-ups in our portfolio (non-essential products and services). This was a period when we all had to focus intensely on our existing start-ups and address any concerns they had, therefore we stopped evaluating any new pipeline. But June onwards, we saw extremely high quality pitches and faster movement of pipeline since it became easier for founders to meet multiple VCs (as most meetings were virtual). We did our first investment where we didn’t meet the founder physically.