Infosys co-founder and former chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is now busy with a host of policy and philanthropic work. In the meantime, he is a mentor to many startups and invests in a select few. Having invested in four startups in the last three months, Nilekani is about to write his largest cheque soon.
In an interview with VCCTV, Nilekani shares his views about the Indian startup ecosystem and how he approaches his investments. He feels that today's young entrepreneurs are ambitious, dynamic and ready to take risks.
As an investor, he looks for original ideas which have the potential to make big impact. He has so far invested in a diverse set of companies—Team Indus is an aerospace experiment while Mubble is a mobile data consumption tracker, Fortigo a solution for the trucking industry, Juggernaut a publishing venture and Let'sVenture an angel investment platform. Nilekani says he has rules only for sectors he would not invest in—he would not invest in Aadhaar-based solutions and fin-tech companies to avoid conflict of interests. He would not touch education sector where he is involved in philanthropic work.
With a slew of reform measures in the financial services, Nilekani feels there is going to be a massive disruption that will see high volume of low-cost digital transactions. This shift will dramatically expand the penetration of consumption of financial products in India, a major boost to the financial inclusion efforts, he hopes.