Venture Capital Is About Investing In The Right People

By Suvir Sujan

  • 04 Oct 2008

Markets change. Competitors change. Customers change. Regulations change. Suppliers change. But people rarely change. What differentiates a great venture capitalist from a good one is the ability to identify and invest in the right people or "six sigma" entrepreneurs as we like to call them at Nexus India Capital.


1. Smart - High on common sense


2. Passionate - Really believes in the idea

3. Quick - Acts on things immediately

4. Great listener - Understands the customer's needs


5. Adaptive - Willing to change course midway if needed

6. Team builder - Can attract and retain a leadership team

7. Self aware - Understands own strengths and weaknesses, leverages the strengths and finds ways to compensate for the weaknesses.


8. Focused on execution - Spends majority of the time on the high priority issues. Does what it takes to achieve a task.

9. Visionary - Dreams big. Spots trends in the future before anyone else

10. Ethical - Honest. Genuine. Can be trusted


More often than not, companies fail because of the wrong person at the helm. It is better to back an "A" entrepreneur with a "B" idea than to back a "B" entrepreneur with an "A" idea. Many of us Venture Capitalists get swayed by domain experience and/or top tier eduation as that is something tangible we can relate to. For e.g., we are more likely to fund someone from the travel industry to start an online travel company than someone who has worked in garment exports. We are more likely to fund an IIM MBA who has worked at Infosys or Tata than someone who has worked at a small software shop with a local chartered accountancy degree. While domain expertise and a decent education can be a plus, it is not what makes a six sigma entrepreneur.

Identifying six sigma entrepreneurs is more of an art than a science. It requires a killer observation, good listening skills, laser focus and a lot of intuition. And those who are good spotting these entrepreneurs make great venture capitalists.


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