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Vertically integrated tech business will be huge, says Lightbox

Siddharth Talwar & Sandeep Murthy

Siddharth Talwar & Sandeep Murthy

Lightbox Management Ltd, a new VC firm floated by former Sherpalo Ventures’ India head Sandeep Murthy along with Siddharth Talwar, raised $100 million a little over a year ago and has already deployed a third of it. It also has stakes in some half a dozen firms as a result of a spinout or synthetic secondary transaction involving existing investments of Sherpalo and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB) in India. VCCircle spoke to Murthy and Talwar on the challenges facing startups and their investors, scouting for meaningful deals and the VC firm’s portfolio companies. Edited excerpts:

How do you see the startup business in 2016? Do you expect a shakeout?

Murthy: When the new government had come in, sentiments had improved. However, the year 2016 has started with this sense that things are not going the way everyone had hoped for. The notion is that companies are not able to raise money and are hence laying off people. And there is big conversation about who is to blame for this kind of scenario. Now, a VC and entrepreneur relationship is not always smooth, there will be chaos at some point. We are seeing that right now. You cannot blame anybody in this ever-changing startup scenario.

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