Last October, I wrote about my first year in venture capitalism at Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India (VVSEAI) and shared my key takeaways and observations. During that time, I focused on perfecting my hard skills, such as crunching numbers, modelling different scenarios, learning to challenge assumptions, and asking the right questions.
As I approach my second year at VVSEAI, I often wonder what it takes to be an outstanding investor. I shared a meme in my previous articles that resonated with me, highlighting the widespread perception of the VC role. Many people believe that being a VC is only about finding the right startup to invest in, riding its growth, and making huge returns for limited partners. However, I quickly learned that it’s more than just picking the right horses. It’s about backing them until they succeed.
Recently, I had the opportunity to hear from Prajit Nanu, the CEO and co-founder of Nium, a unicorn in the fintech space. Nanu shared his journey and observations, shedding light on what separates an outstanding investor from the rest. His experiences working with various types of investors provided valuable insights into the qualities that make an investor exceptional.
One of the key reflections from Nanu’s sharing is the importance of sharing the same vision and conviction with the investor. He emphasized that capital is not equal, and not all investors offer the same level of support and commitment. The outstanding investors are the ones who share the founders’ vision and demonstrate unwavering conviction in their success, particularly during challenging times.
Besides sharing the same vision, an outstanding investor offers both tangible and intangible support to the founders. They are there for the founders in both good and bad times, providing not only financial support but also emotional encouragement. Additionally, they are not afraid to offer stern but fair criticism, challenging the founders without hindering their progress.
Overall, Nanu’s insights shed light on the qualities that set outstanding investors apart. It’s not just about making the right investments; it’s about being a supportive, committed partner to the founders, offering guidance, support, and constructive criticism when needed.
At VVSEAI, I have seen firsthand how my partners invest not only capital but also their time and support in the companies we back. It’s a testament to the value of being an outstanding investor and the difference it can make in the success of a startup.