Brothers Amit and Arihant Patni are no strangers to the game of investment and entrepreneurship. The sons of Gajendra Patni, the eldest of the three Patni brothers who founded Patni Computers and later sold it to iGate Technologies, have been one of the earliest backers of several Indian consumer Internet startups such as YourNextLeap, PlexusMD, Zopper and Aureus Analytics. They are also associated with multiple investment vehicles – Elysium Investment Advisors (hedge fund), Nirvana Venture Advisors (internet digital fund) and The Hive India (Big Data fund) – but technology remains the core theme of their investments.
The two brothers have now come on board Ideaspring Capital, the early-stage venture fund of angel investors Naganand Doraswamy and Prashant Deshpande. In an interview with Techcircle.in, the two brothers speak about their investment philosophy, the sectors which show potential for disruption, and the technologies that will spearhead these changes. Edited excerpts:
Do you see the rules for startup funding changing?
Arihant Patni: I do not see any changes in the rules of funding. Until last year, both investors and founders were getting swayed. This has changed and the founders, too, have eventually learnt that money dries up if they are not smart. Raising $100 million does not mean that you have to spend it in 10 months. You have to care about how customers are acquired and the money spent on advertising.
Amit Patni: Investors who had too much money got swayed. But as a smaller fund, we never had the pressure to invest. Looking for the right company and asking the right questions always remained our thesis.
IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to be buzzwords. When do you see these making a big impact in India?
Arihant Patni: While I think that these technologies are still in their early stages, what I definitely see happening across the US, and very soon here as well, is that large-scale industry adoption of these technologies will happen sooner, but consumer adoption will take longer. In the next 10-15 years, we will definitely see many companies benefiting from these technologies in the B2B sector. Many consumer internet companies have started using algorithms and bot (web robot) technology for their websites, for better presentation to consumers.
Amit Patni: In software, in the 1990s and 2000, everything was export-oriented. In the last decade, a large domestic market has emerged for most of the large software companies as well. We will see the same trend coming in these sectors as well.
Arihant Patni: We have seen it already. Until a few years ago, data science was the domain of Silicon Valley.Today, Flipkart has one of the best data science teams in the country.
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