Vishal Gondal is the founder of India’s largest digital gaming company Indiagames, which is now part of the Walt Disney Group. Founded in 1999, Indiagames evolved fast to become one of the top 10 mobile gaming firms in the world by 2006. And Gondal has become a widely popular thought leader in the gaming and mobile sectors, representing the gaming community at FICCI, NASSCOM and CII.
However, this innovative entrepreneur has also set up Sweat & Blood Venture Group, a seed/early-stage venture capital fund. He is not part of any angel network but actively seeks out companies and talents on his own. He independently assesses start-ups, irrespective of whether others are investing in those or not, and does fewer deals than others in this space. His typical deal size is between $50,000 and $100,000.
His advice for entrepreneurs is also simple and to the point. According to him, entrepreneurs should pick up marketing and networking skills if they want to sell their products successfully. And the bottom line? “Running a start-up is like being pregnant – in the end, you have to deliver,” says Gondal.
Preferred Sectors: Sector-agnostic – he has invested in healthcare, Internet and e-commerce. However, he is not at all keen to invest in services companies. Only start-ups which have a vision to develop a product/intellectual property arouse his interest.
Preferred Location: India and abroad.
Involvement: Gondal feels that angel investment is very intimate, unlike venture capital investments. Also, he is a totally hands-on investor. While others invest with a portfolio strategy, he believes in doing fewer deals and making them all a success.
Key Investments: Healthcare start-up DocSuggest, blogging platform Instablogs, GaMa Entertainment Systems, which makes entertainment hardware and software for retailers, and Kyko, a UK-based stealth start-up.
Hits & Misses: Exited Instablog in 2010, selling it to BCCL Group. GaMa Entertainment and Kyko have also raised subsequent rounds of funding.