We currently have over 250 members on board consisting of HNIs and funds having a board range of expertise, investment preferences, and appetites.
Sashi Reddi is the founder and executive chairman of AppLabs, the world’s largest software testing and quality management company. Since its founding in April 2001, Sashi has grown AppLabs from a 3 person outfit in a shared office space in Philadelphia to its current size of 2,000 employees in the US, UK, and India.
A serial entrepreneur, Sashi has started two other companies prior to AppLabs. His first company was EZPower Systems, a developer of products for building and maintaining large-scale web applications. EZPower was acquired by DocuCorp and then eventually by Oracle. EZPower technology continues to be a part of Oracle’s document management offerings. Following EZPower, Sashi founded iCoop, a group purchasing dotcom company. He began his career consulting on technology and strategy to Fortune 500 companies in the travel, financial services, automotive and consumer packaged goods industries. Sashi is also the founder and chairman of FXLabs, a leading developer of high quality game products for PC’s, consoles, and online. He is also the founder and chairman of Sricapital, a venture capital firm.
Sashi received his BTech degree in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. He went on to gain an MS in Computer Science from New York University and later a PhD from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Sashi serves on the advisory board of the Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs and is a charter member of TiE Hyderabad.
Sashi talks to I3N about his interest in early stage investments and how I3N can contribute:
You have a venture fund, a trust, and also invest in your personal capacity. Which has been most fulfilling, and how do you decide vehicle is the best for each investment you make?
The fund or trust or anything else is just a vehicle to make it easy to make an investment and to manage the investment until its exit. The choice of the investment vehicle is based on local company laws, tax laws, governance issues, etc. Finally, the only thing that matters is the quality of the investment.
Living in the US, what are some of the ways in which you make managing your India investments easier?
I currently have a small family office in Hyderabad that is focused on helping me manage my investments. We supplement the family office by using expert help from various professional firms like Avendus, Grant Thornton and others. Also, recently I have started to leverage various existing seed/venture funds like Blume Ventures, Angel Prime, and Omnivore to make the investments. I not only commit to funds but also have the opportunity to co-invest in some cases. The other support that I have is from angel networks like Hyderabad Angels, where I am active investor. I have been able to leverage these and other investment partners to deploy more capital.
What sectors are you most interested in and why?
Besides technology where I am very comfortable, my areas of interest from a social investing standpoint are education, green energy, and healthcare. In education, I am currently an investor in Edutor that is bringing tablet based learning to schools— it is the market leader in this space. In green energy, I am an investor in GIBSS that is pioneering geothermal solutions for driving down energy costs.
What are the main challenges you see in the ecosystem for early stage impact enterprises?
The primary challenge is being able to draw the line between the business proposition and social service. As an investor I expect a return on my investment. If this can be done by providing value to society, especially to the bottom of the pyramid, then even better. I do a lot of charity on my own so I am not looking for other people to take my money and do charity on my behalf— I can do that myself. My trust supports 3 government schools in Hyderabad where we provide teacher training, teacher salaries, school supplies, healthcare camps, free breakfast and supplemental nutrition and a whole host of services to over 600 children.
How can I3N help resolve some of these challenges? What else can I3N do to further facilitate early stage investments?
I3N is already providing a valuable service by creating this ecosystem of like-minded people. It will just take a little more time to become a force in this space but I am confident that then team can make this happen.