Sid's the guy everyone loves.
He moved to India in 2001 to found Evolv, a vocational training company. Evolv was funded by Singapore Technologies - their first early stage investment in the sub-continent. Over the next 6 years, Sid grew Evolv to 300 employees training and assessing over 20,000 people a year across 200 cities in South Asia, East Asia and the Middle East. In 2007, he sold Evolv to NIIT - Asia's largest training company. Sid worked with NIIT for the next 3 years, heading Evolv, as well as Litmus - NIIT's foray into assessments and Uniqua - NIIT's joint venture with Genpact. In 10 years of leading Evolv, Sid became a master in education technology (and continues to explore advancements in this market at Lightbox.)
An entrepreneur at heart, Sid left NIIT to get more involved in the start up community in India. Over the next few years, leading up to Lightbox, Sid advised several startups, angel funds, and a very special NGO called Magic Bus.
As enterprising at play as he is at work, Sid recently launched a new restaurant, The Hungry Monkey. Brown Paper Bag says "one step in and we realised, this was a hipster kid, the kind who'd look good on our Instagram feed." Check it out if you're in Delhi.
What does failure mean to you?
Failure is inevitable. I accepted that early in my life. Luckily, over time, I've seen it's also the only path to success. And that's what failure means to me - a path to success. But to travel that path, you must recognize your mistakes, handle them psychologically, learn from them and then act accordingly.
What’s your super power?
I'm a reader. I love reading. That's my super power. The more I read, the more perspective I get, the more curious I get and that makes me a better investor and a better person. It's a habit I picked up from my grandfather. He read anything he could get his hands on. He read to me all the time. I'm proud to keep the tradition going. Speaking of reading, here's one of my favorite quotes from Charlie Munger: "In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time - none, zero." I agree.
Which is your favourite city in the world?
I always fall in love with the city I live in - and at the moment that's Mumbai. And it's pretty amazing. I love the sea. I love the energy. I love the people. I love our office. This is where I want to be.
Favourite books this year
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou and Becoming by Michelle Obama
If you weren’t a venture capitalist, you’d be?
Hands down, a theatre actor. I still might do it...one day. Being on stage, in front of a live audience is one of the most exhilarating experiences I know.
As the initial euphoria of the Walmart-Flipkart announcement settles down, it’s time to start making Flipkart a better and stronger company for shareholders and consumers. India is a complicated market, and acquisitions here are always challenging. Walmart’s next steps will be critical as it looks to create a blueprint for success in India.Read More
When you invest early in a company’s life cycle, there is such a lack of information available, so much of an investment decision at this stage is based on the founding team and prior investing experience. The earlier you invest, the more experience you need.Read More
I spoke to women entrepreneurs I know. Did they feel they were being unfairly judged? The short answer: Yes! “How much time will you take off if you get pregnant?” asked one investor. “Are you planning on getting married?” asked another.Read More
There’s a belief globally that we have a burgeoning middle class in India – and we’re following in the footsteps of China’s massive change from immense poverty to a stable middle class. But that’s really not the case.Read More
India doesn’t lack funding, at least in technology. We need people – smart people, educated people, motivated people. Let’s teach coding. Let’s teach innovation and creativity. Let’s teach leadership and teamwork. And let’s make it free for anyone and everyone in the country.Read More
Buying jewelry is as much about the experience of browsing as it is about the actual purchase. After the last year I’ve spent working with Melorra (coupled with 11 years of marriage) I’m slowly starting to understand this phenomena.Read More
Here’s a prediction: tech companies will raise more private money than IPOs. And a lot of that money will go towards (re)educating consumers, giving them access to debt for anything they want, and providing them a whole lot of video.Read More
We spend a lot of time thinking about the changing nature of ownership. It’s amazing how much “stuff” most of us collect over time. And how little we actually use in everyday life. It makes you start questioning consuming and purchasing habits in general.Read More
2014 was one of the most prolific years we’ve had in terms of the number of startups, fundings, valuations, and user growth in India. In 2015, we should see the fruits of that labor in several spaces – look out for many fledgling companies to mature and grow at a pace we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago, or even just a year ago.Read More
When we first met to discuss starting a fund, one of the things that we all had in common was that we were entrepreneurs. We had launched our own companies, gotten rejected by investor after investor, produced good and bad products and experienced failure after failure. We were start up warriors and had the battle scars to prove it.Read More
Profitability isn’t a switch you can turn on and off. No business can suddenly decide that it’s time to get profitable and implement a strategy. If businesses aren’t structured to be profitable, the only real strategy an entrepreneur can implement is to cut costs, almost always at the expense of growth. Profitability at the expense of growth doesn’t last.Read More