AN­GEL OF GROWTH

Marwar - - Special Feature - Text Joseph Rozario

Meet San­deep Bar­dia, the chair­man of JITO An­gel Net­work In­vest­ment Com­mit­tee, who has em­barked upon a two-pronged mis­sion to nur­ture Jain and Mar­wari start-ups and also pop­u­larise them among tra­di­tional Jain and Mar­wari busi­ness­men as the next big in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity.

THE JAINS AND MAR­WARIS HAVE BEEN TWO of In­dia's most suc­cess­ful busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties and con­tinue to be, with hun­dreds of am­bi­tious young­sters mak­ing their foray into the world of en­ter­prise ev­ery year. Con­sid­er­ing their predilec­tion for busi­ness, they are ea­ger to make their mark in the world of en­ter­prise, through ei­ther es­tab­lished fam­ily busi­nesses or start-ups which seem to be the lat­est buzz in in­vestor cir­cles, given in­creas­ing in­stances of start-ups go­ing on to be­come big­time busi­nesses. Add to these the fact that as suc­cess­ful en­trepreneurs, Jains and Mar­waris hold tremen­dous in­vest­ment po­ten­tial, and the ris­ing num­ber of an­gel in­vestors makes sense. Among them is San­deep Bar­dia, the chair­man of JITO An­gel Net­work In­vest­ment Com­mit­tee, an MBA from Rochester In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, New York, who has ear­lier worked on Wall Street as a fund man­ager, be­fore mov­ing back to In­dia in 2005.

A new as­set class

Bar­dia has his roots in Sar­dar­sha­har, Ra­jasthan and is cur­rently based in New Delhi. Asked about JITO An­gel Net­work and its func­tions, he says, “JITO An­gel Net­work is one of the largest and fastest grow­ing an­gel in­vest­ment net­works in the coun­try that aims to pro­vide a new as­set class to tra­di­tional Mar­wari Jain in­vestors: start-ups. It in­vests in start-ups across all sec­tors and stages.” Bar­dia’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, as the chair­man of JITO An­gel Net­work In­vest­ment Com­mit­tee, in­clude over­see­ing all in­vest­ing ac­tiv­ity and also men­tor­ing start-ups.

For those unini­ti­ated, an­gel in­vestors (or an­gel fun­ders) are af­flu­ent in­di­vid­u­als who help newly de­vel­op­ing busi­nesses with cap­i­tal, usu­ally in ex­change for own­er­ship eq­uity in the com­pany or con­vert­ible debt. An­gel in­vestors may op­er­ate in­di­vid­u­ally, or func­tion as net­works/groups to share re­search, pool funds and even pro­vide ad­vice and

means to jump-start the per­for­mance of in­cu­ba­tees/star­tups. JITO An­gel Net­work falls in the lat­ter cat­e­gory.

“As In­dia has be­come home to nu­mer­ous suc­cess­ful bil­lion-dol­lar com­pa­nies, Jain in­vestors, who tra­di­tion­ally have re­stricted their in­vest­ments to reg­u­lar as­set classes like real es­tate, gold, eq­ui­ties, etc, are now eye­ing lu­cra­tive in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in new age busi­nesses,” Bar­dia ex­plains. To fa­cil­i­tate this, JITO An­gel Net­work was founded in 2017, given its abil­ity to con­nect start-ups with the huge Jain busi­ness com­mu­nity, which has pres­ence across all ma­jor in­dus­tries.

A bright out­look for fu­ture

JITO An­gel Net­work, in­ci­den­tally, is a part of Jain In­ter­na­tional Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion, or JITO, which is a unique, multi-stake­holder com­mu­nity of vi­sion­ary Jain in­dus­tri­al­ists, busi­ness­men and pro­fes­sion­als, in­clud­ing the likes of Moti­lal Oswal of Moti­lal Oswal Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Ltd, Prasan Jain of Su­gal & Da­mani and oth­ers. JITO mem­bers share a com­mit­ment to shape the fu­ture of the Jain com­mu­nity and so­ci­ety at large, hav­ing en­vis­aged many projects un­der its core ob­jec­tives of eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment, knowl­edge and ser­vice, apart from a wide range of com­mu­nity pro­grammes span­ning such ar­eas as ed­u­ca­tion, health care, com­mu­nity devel­op­ment, busi­ness net­work­ing, an­gel in­vest­ment and in­cu­ba­tion.

Con­se­quently, JITO An­gel Net­work en­joys con­sid­er­able ad­van­tage com­pared to other an­gel net­works, which ex­plains Bar­dia’s pos­i­tive out­look for the fu­ture. “We are a 200-mem­ber an­gel net­work that is rapidly grow­ing and is poised to over­take other lead­ing an­gel net­works in the coun­try,” he says. “From the per­spec­tives of net worth and in­vestible as­sets of our mem­bers, we may be con­sid­ered one of In­dia’s largest and most af­flu­ent an­gel net­works. Also, no one un­der­stands busi­ness and In­dian mar­kets bet­ter than Jains and Mar­waris, and hence, JITO An­gel Net­work is a pre­ferred part­ner for start-ups.”

Men­tor­ing start-ups

Apart from an­gel in­vest­ments, JITO has also set up an 8,500 sq ft in­cu­ba­tion cen­tre in Mum­bai, to foster en­trepreneur­ship among Jain en­trepreneurs. It pro­vides free of­fice space, men­tor­ship and net­work­ing/fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to promis­ing en­trepreneurs from the com­mu­nity. So far it has in­cu­bated around 13 start-ups and has in­vested (or is in the process of in­vest­ing) in 10 start-ups. Among its in­cu­ba­tee com­pa­nies are Chalo (for­merly Zophop), Onnbikes, Sun Telem­at­ics, Cup­shup, Magnes Mo­tors, etc. These apart, sev­eral of its mem­bers have cu­mu­la­tively in­vested in more than 100 prom­i­nent start-ups in their per­sonal ca­pac­i­ties, prior to the found­ing of JITO An­gel Net­work.

JITO An­gel Net­work is one of the largest and fastest grow­ing an­gel in­vest­ment net­works in the coun­try that aims to pro­vide a new as­set class to tra­di­tional Mar­wari Jain in­vestors: start- ups

Con­sid­er­ing the lack of aware­ness about start-ups as a new as­sert class among tra­di­tional Jain and Mar­wari busi­ness­men, JITO An­gel Net­work has also been try­ing to in­crease aware­ness about them, both from an in­vest­ment per­spec­tive as well as work­ing with start-ups as a cus­tomer or sup­plier. It has con­ducted sev­eral in­vestor events/

pitches to­wards this al­ready, to which the re­sponse has been very en­cour­ag­ing.

Be­sides, the net­work also is in the process of set­ting up its own fund to fa­cil­i­tate in­vest­ment in its port­fo­lio of in­cu­ba­tee com­pa­nies, with sev­eral Jain busi­ness­men hav­ing al­ready com­mit­ted in­vest­ment in it.

A busi­ness­man in his own right

Apart from head­ing JITO An­gel Net­work In­vest­ment Com­mit­tee, in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity, San­deep Bar­dia also runs a bou­tique in­vest­ment bank named Bar­dia Con­sult­ing, which has pres­ence in In­dia, USA, Aus­tria, Hong Kong, Australia, Dubai and Singapore. It fo­cuses on cross bor­der strat­egy con­sult­ing, re­search and cor­po­rate fi­nance ad­vi­sory and works with clients rang­ing from start-ups to For­tune 500 com­pa­nies, pro­vid­ing them strate­gic ad­vi­sory, mar­ket in­tel­li­gence and cor­po­rate fi­nance/trans­ac­tion ad­vi­sory across ar­eas such as pri­vate eq­uity, ven­ture cap­i­tal and merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions.

He also is a very ac­tive early stage in­vestor and has in­vested in and ad­vised more than 15 start-ups in North Amer­ica and In­dia.

Apart from Bar­dia Con­sult­ing, San­deep Bar­dia also has other busi­nesses which in­clude Anan­tara Cap­i­tal Ad­vi­sors, an up­com­ing real es­tate pri­vate eq­uity fund and Elite In­surance Broking, an IRDAI-ap­proved pan-In­dia in­surance broking firm.

Mis­sion and vi­sion

Com­ing back to JITO An­gel Net­work, Bar­dia’s vi­sion is to make it the largest and most suc­cess­ful an­gel net­work in the coun­try, with a global pres­ence.

What the fu­ture will bring re­mains to be seen, but Bar­dia’s en­deav­ours seem like a step in the right di­rec­tion for the Jain and Mar­wari busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties given In­dia’s ever-chang­ing in­vestor land­scape and to­day’s In­ter­net age which is slowly but surely push­ing tra­di­tion­al­ism out.

Fac­ing page: San­deep Bar­dia Right: Newly built JITO In­cu­ba­tion Cen­tre with world­class in­cu­ba­tion fa­cil­i­ties for start-ups

Top: Jito An­gel Net­work's core com­mit­tee and sup­port staff Right: JITO An­gel Net­work Na­tional Com­mit­tee mem­bers with JITO chair­man Moti­lal Oswal (front row, third from left) and JITO pres­i­dent Shan­ti­lal Kawar (front row, fourth from left)

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