We’ve been partners of the Draper Venture Network (DVN) since 2017, when we first announced our strategic relationship at Blume Day ’17.
After visits with the Blume team and our founders to the Valley, Singapore/Jakarta, Europe, hosted by DVN, it was our pleasure to welcome Gabe Turner (Executive Director, DVN), and Gavin Lee (from Singapore based Wavemaker Ventures) – and we look forward to hosting Tim Draper when he visits India later this year!
 Below is an on-the-ground account from Gabe, sharing his perspectives across a compressed “Dekho India” trip centered in Bangalore:
Our original visit to Blume Ventures was early 2017 for Blume Day in Mumbai.  This time it was Bangalore, the heart of the Indian tech scene, and the Blume team was somehow able to top the last trip.   Delicious southern Indian food coupled with visits to fantastic companies and warm gatherings with their local startup community – what’s not to love!   Here are some highlights:
  • Chatting with India’s Economic Times: We came back to India to celebrate our partnership with Blume, and to bring Tim Draper to India after a 6 year hiatus.  Unfortunately, Tim fell ill and couldn’t make the trip, but that didn’t stop him from sharing his excitement with one of India’s leading journals.  Tim got on a video call with ET’s leading tech writer Madhav Chanchani.   They spoke at length about Tim’s eagerness to see the revamped Indian ecosystem, which had matured significantly since his last visit, and his eagerness to meet Blume’s exciting portfolio (he was repentant for not being there in person).

 

  • A visit to Tricog’s HQ:   My first Blume portfolio company visit in Bangalore was to Tricog, where  I was greeted warmly with a delicious south Indian breakfast.  This talented group of co-founders have put their engineering and medical experience to help save lives.  They have developed a device that plugs into most EKG readers and which beams the results of 200 heart measurements to Tricog’s HQ, where a team of trained specialists analyze and return the diagnosis within minutes.   In a country of over 1.2 Billion where there are only 4,000 EKG specialists, this device and system of remote analysis has solved a critical need.  I was lucky enough to see the specialists at work.  One had just sent back an analysis of a patient needing urgent cardiac care, along with directions on the nearest facility to take the patient.   Talk about a company with its heart in the right place!

 

With Vijay, Minjar’s Founder & CEO – close on the heels of botmetric’s acquisition by Nasdaq listed Nutanix
  • Meeting Blume’s fast-growing portfolio companies:  We visited Exotel’s CEO, who is leading the charge in cloud communications, and then were graciously hosted by Locus to learn about their impressive growth.  There we met a few more companies: ecommerce insight engine Dataweave, who we are already well-familiar with in the US given their fast growth there , and upstart video platform Rocketium.  Later we caught up with Botmetric/Minjar’s founder Vijay Rayapati, and celebrated their recently sale to US-based Nutanix.   Vijay let us crash his B2B founders party the following night – and what a special scene it was, to see fellow startup founders let their hair down over drinks and openly share successes & failures.
With ex Inmobi founder Amit Gupta and his Yulu bike, aiming to transform the face of urban mobility
Another highlight was an interactive roundtable chaired by Bain and Blume, around the shared economy, a massive young & mobile-first population, and India’s 2018 outlook

 

  • A gathering of Blume’s friends and founders at Sunny’s restaurant:  Blume Ventures gathered its Bangalore community to hear from me and Gavin Lee of Wavemaker VC (Singapore).  We discussed the expansion opportunities for Indian companies in US and across SE Asia, and founders got to grill us on topics such as valuation, fundraising and more.   We were even paid a visit by David Webster of IDEO, who was in town to hold court with fellow Blume company NowFloats.   The highlight of the event however was learning about two forthcoming game-changing companies soon to break ground: local bike-sharing company Yulu, and luxury travel coordinator Rizort.  Big things to come from both of those!

Until the next visit (with Tim in tow!)

Gabe Turner