Sequoia Ex-CMO Raja Ganapathy Sets up Fund for Early-stage Firms
Spring Marketing Capital will work with founders to help the marketing & branding strategy of startups
Bengaluru: Raja Ganapathy, till recently the chief marketing officer at Sequoia Capital India, has cofounded Spring Marketing Capital, to invest in early-stage technology companies and work directly with the founders to help shape the startup’s marketing and branding strategy.
Ganapathy joined hands with seasoned advertisement professionals Vineet Gupta, ex-group chief executive of DDB Mudra and Arun Iyer, ex-chairman of Lowe Lintas, to start the venture. Besides managing the fund, the company will also engage in consultancy to help established companies in their branding efforts.
It has already taken up seven consultancy assignments with the likes of Byju’s and Healthkart, among few others. EThas learnt that the fund has set a target of $30 million and has already received funding commitments from multiple startup founders in India and a few venture capitalists and is on track to raise around $20 million by June of this year.
“We will work closely with the fo- under to understand not just the role of the product or service in the consumer’s life but also the founder’s vision for the company and accordingly shape the marketing and branding strategy,” said Ganapathy in an exclusive interaction with ET.
“The entire spectrum from crafting the value proposition to go-to-market approach to online/offline communication is our responsibility, execution can be outsourced but will still be supervised by us,” he said.
Indian startups suffer from major challenges of branding themselves right, according to industry insiders. A top-level executive with a VC firm told ET that more than 40% of the amounts raised by startups usually get spent on marketing. This creates a space where companies like Spring Marketing Capital can fit in and add value to the entire sector, he added.
“By investing in the company, we are adding our skin in the game. This en- sures alignment of goals between Spring and the founder,” he said.
While Spring Marketing Capital intends to enter the company in a series A or a pre-series A stage, Ganapathy said that they would not want to lead a round and rather piggy back on a round led by a VC. “The marketing and creative consulting solution for the first year would be bundled in the investments we make; we would look for an exit around two to three years after our investment at a subsequent liquidity event,” he said.