Starting a New Chapter

Published on Oct 24, 20194 min read15 views

~7.5 years. That's the time I've spent with Tuscan Ventures, my first and only employer so far. ~1.5 of those years were spent as an intern and the rest as a full time employee. Tuscan Ventures has played an important role in my professional career. Everything I've learned about startups, evaluating investments, investing, legal, company law, finance in general and everything else, I learned during my time at Tuscan.

Rarely do people give you an opportunity to learn on the job. Most expect you to hit the ground running. Tuscan helped me find my own space, my own rhythm. The people at Tuscan gave me the freedom to find my niche in evaluating and investing, develop my own frameworks and learn as I went along.

Over the seven years, I've met probably ~5,000 people including founders, investment bankers, other investors, industry experts and so on. I was able to meet with some very seasoned experts and professionals across industries (logistics, financial services, QSR, food, consumer durables and so on). I've been fortunate to meet some really good people that genuinely want to build something big. Today, I can boast of a very strong network of professionals across industries. Have learned so much from each of them. The very best have been kind enough to let me pick their brains from time to time.

Obviously, it was not always easy, but that's what helped me think differently and navigate out of that situation. The team was very supportive throughout. They've helped me learn from mistakes and improve everyday. They've been open to let me chart my course and evaluate investments as I deemed fit. Sure, when I've fumbled they were there to guide me out of it. The people you work with really matter and if they don't push you to be your best self and perform you best, you're not at the right place.

That said, I was getting comfortable and complacent - to an extent where it was easy to think that others are not doing it right. I was not getting invigorated by new ideas, new business models, new technologies, new ways of doing things. I was set in my ways. Clearly, those were wrong notions. I had to shake myself out of that inertia and reset my understanding of investing in innovative businesses. Just as I was coming about this realisation, I was presented with a great opportunity to switch jobs and I decided to take it.

Taking on this new opportunity meant a lot of unkowns and even more uncertainty. But I knew that if I didn't take this opportunity now, I would forever be stuck in my ways and it would get that much harder for me with each passing year. I'd be the grumpy ol' man that hates young kids for telling him what to do.

Along comes Xiaomi

Xiaomi is the world's fastest growing mobile internet company. I decided to join the investments team at Xiaomi starting 23rd September, 2019. Xiaomi is an incredible company - they make high-quality hardware products and integrate the ecosystem of hardware with their proprietary software platform i.e. MIUI (MI User Interface). The team has some crazy talented people across the world that are driven by the work they do. Xiaomi also recognises the fact that they can't do everything by themselves and have specifically set up the investments unit to capture opportunities early. They've made over ~300 investments in China and are looking to replicate the same in India too. Fun fact: Xiaomi has over ~1500 SKU's at their stores but design and manufacture only 5 products in house! The rest of the products are supplied by their portfolio companies.

I am kicked at the opportunity to work at Xiaomi for a few reasons:

  1. Opportunity to work with incredibly talented and smart people across India and China

  2. Ability to do more, faster - fail faster and learn faster

  3. Too many unknowns and uncertainity. Don't remember the last time I felt this way

  4. Learn to communicate across business verticals to find find strategic opportunties.

There are many softer aspects that make the shift that much more exciting.

With that, I am excited for my future as an investor and my work at Xiaomi. The next post will cover my experience of the shift from Bombay (Mumbai) to Bangalore (Bengaluru). Until the next adventure beckons.

Onward.

Note: All blogs posts till 2022 were migrated to this platform (react+next+tailwind). While all efforts were made to migrate wihtout any loss, the migration lost some images and broke a bunch of links in old posts. If you spot anything amiss, please notify me?