In this episode Karthik Reddy discusses the following with Jivraj Singh Sachar:
(03:28) : How Indian Venture Capital is changing & whether capital just a commodity now
(12:35) : What counts as a Win for LPs, Investors & Founders
(23:04) : What makes the top 1% Founders truly special
(29:30) : The paradox of pattern recognition in Venture Capital
(40:09) : What is the value add of Board of Directors
(50:03) : Karthik’s Decision Making Process, productivity hacks, and more.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Indian Silicon Valley Podcast. I am your host Jivraj and on this podcast, I have some amazing conversations with founders, investors, and domain experts from the Indian Valley, trying to derive practical insight to building a startup in India. In this episode, I speak with Karthik Reddy, managing partner of Blume Ventures and attempt to demystify venture capital. Blume Ventures is an institutional venture capital fund with more than $225 million in assets under management. Blume is a homegrown fund, which has scaled exponentially since it was founded in 2010, having institutionalized its approach, bagging portfolio companies like Unacademy, Dunzo, WebEngage, Purplle, GreyOrange, Milkbasket, HealthifyMe, and more.
It has invested cumulatively in more than 145 companies to date. Blume is definitely one of the most successful VC funds in India making it the much coveted check that all aspiring founders hope to receive. Karthik Reddy is one of the most prominent figures of the Indian venture ecosystem. Tons of experience under his belt, his wisdom and insights are unparalleled. I loved speaking with Karthik and picking his brain on a lot of abstract thoughts around Venture Capital.
Through the episode we end up speaking about the changing landscape in Indian VC, patent recognition and contrarian thought process, the value add as a board member, productivity hacks and more that we would need to entirely demystify Venture Capital. So let’s dive right in with the Indian Silicon Valley podcast, ‘Demystifying Venture Capital’ with Karthik Reddy, managing partner of Blume Ventures.
Without further ado I would like to welcome Mr. Karthik Reddy [00:02:10], the managing partner and co-founder of Blume Ventures on the show. Thank you so much Karthik for joining me. It’s such an honor for me to be able to host you.
Karthik Reddy: Very kind of you to say that Jivraj, looking forward to this chat.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: For sure as I’m very pumped up about hearing from you, because a lot of your opinions have been very fresh, candid and to the point, not what a lot of VCs might be able to claim, but moving from there and, you know, jumping right into, let’s say a paradox of sorts or basically understanding more about the- if not the venture business, the capital business right, because increasingly as we hear on Twitter, or on social media platforms, capital is increasingly becoming a commodity, especially with the availability of it, right. And thus that calls for- if not a transition, an evolution of the venture capital business as a whole right. So would love to understand from you how you look at that proposition. And if you can perhaps give us an insider view of how this model is changing and what are some of the steps being taken from the venture side of things to ensure that capital becomes more lucrative, more valuable, and actually adds value to entrepreneurs.
Karthik Reddy: Sure. Fascinating question, I don’t know if you knew this, but our tagline for, I think the first five years was, reimagining venture capital for India. So, you know, we obviously didn’t think it was serving the needs of the entrepreneurs back then in the first half of the decade. We thought most funds were oversized for what the entrepreneurs needed. So I think the way to articulate the problem and even when we started, the gap we were looking forward to is what angels couldn’t fulfill, and what the VC funds found too early to play. So in some sense, though we called ourselves VCs, we modeled ourselves a little over the- on the west coast model of what’s called the super angel fund, which is basically very prolific cheque writing, 50 to a 100K and it would be no different if actually, a Google or a [00:04:10] PayPal or the other Tesla or Facebook super engine would write checks over a four year period.
That’s how Fund I was run. What we were trying to do though cleverly was to move down in an institutionalized path. So we had reserves. We wanted to play into our winners. And essentially we knew that if you don’t bring that institutional layer, the value that you can build for the founder only lasts up to the next round.
So that’s actually the key, the punch line in some senses is capital is commoditized for a good founder/company for one round at a time, one round at a time. So you can’t generalize that across the life of the company. So, a Tiger’s capital, or a SoftBank’s capital or a Sequoia’s capital or a Nexus’ capital or Blume’s capital, they are all different values at different points in time, right.
What each financier should determine is whether they’re happy being in the stage where they are, or they want to scale up or down, right. Someone like a Sequoia has decided they want to be all across the spectrum. An angel investor will say I’m happy being in an angel stage. Blume has decided that we will slowly evolve in groups’ rights, but we will never write like a Series-A cheque. But what we’ll do is we will support our companies through another round or two. And so what you’re doing therefore is signaling that I want to add value- and it is a combination of everything. If you just simply add value without putting any capital and skin in the game people will say: Hey, this all value-added fluff; where is the capital? When does the company reach a 20-, $30 million valuation? So you’re just riding on your past laurels of picking this early. You’re not actually putting more capital. So we have tried to evolve. There are many players suddenly in the ecosystem, as you can see, when the first half of the decade there were five, six of us. It was waiting to happen.
Homegrown, trying to solve for this institutionalized small ticket gap – that’s the problem we were trying to solve. Today you’re partly right when you say capital has commoditized. Because I think that end of the funnel is exploding, meaning there are, you know, obviously from five Angel groups now that are 15-, 20 Angel groups; from no platforms there are half a dozen [00:06:10] platforms where you can build syndicates, right.
Whether that’s venture capitalists, or Let’s Venture, or Angel List or whoever it may be. From no family office funds there are probably 10 or 15 in size now; from no specialized funds there are 10 or 15 of them. So it feels like it’s commoditized, but when you look at the flow of entrepreneurs shooting for capital, it’s a very, very wide funnel at the top. So there’s still, you know, it’s commoditized for extremely well-connected or established entrepreneurs, not so much for the others.
It’s just a distinction. You’re right, that doesn’t mean all the 2500 people or pitches should be funded. A lot of them don’t deserve venture financing services, right. They should raise friends and family financing. So since your question was couched in the, in the broader or most of the questions in your discovery is couched in a broader sense of what should young entrepreneurs do; young entrepreneurs should therefore also be smart about gauging what capital suits them, for the kind of startup and the kind of business they are building. And in a very, very – to dumb it down, the minute you touch institutional capital like ours, it doesn’t matter whether I’m playing 1 million or 2 million or somebody is playing 10 million. All of us are playing for the same output, which is a half a billion, to a billion, dollar minimum, or you know outsized; end outcome right. Of course, we can further dream and hope that it becomes five or 10 billion; it was unthinkable until five years ago that we could actually envisage such outcomes in India, right.
Now we are all beginning to dream that that’s possible. Once you have that unicorns, you can assume that half of them will go to three; half of them will go to five or whatever, a third will go to five and a small percentage will go to 10 as well. And so when that happens, though, and you start scaling your fund size, then you basically have to build outcomes that are that large, therefore institutional VC is not for everybody right. A lot of people should stick to friends, family; build to a certain scale and then commit to like this crazy rat race of building at a scale at [00:08:15] an incredible speed, which is not- I almost say that it’s a parallel world. It’s very unnatural to be building in that fashion right. Incredible demands on the entrepreneur, on the leadership team, on the way an organization scales, the number of times that it’s broken deliberately, accidentally, and then be fixed.
This you will not find in any other corporate job. And so when you’re signing up for that is where all the pieces come together, which is then the founder is like struggling. They might be the best founder of that generation. They will still have issues, right. And so then the capital can step up and say, I’ll actually ease some of those things.
You don’t want to run the company. They run the company, but you want to be able to enable them to become superheroes; them or their L1s or L2s. So, as we have grown, we’ve realized that it’s not about one person. It’s not about a superhero; it’s a team of superheroes. And your ability to enable those superheroes to perform better is basically the function of the firm.
The capital once it’s crossed over from your bank account to theirs, you’re done. What more can you do right? Because I have capital, even if I had a bigger firm, it’s just not like it’s a blank cheque that they’re going to give them another round of capital. That has to be contingent on performance.
So what gets measured in every one and a half two year cycle is do they deserve that next cheque? Market votes for it. I vote for it. It’s not different if they’re truly objective; it’s the same decision, right. So the odds of whether the company takes off or not and proves that it’s worth another round and another round and another round, because think about every time there is a round- there is an expectation of incoming guys of 10X from here, Series A and for Series B, 5X from here; Series C, 3X- 4X from here. So there is no end to the ambition that somebody collectively puts on the thing. And each of those is non-trivial. I mean if it reaches that steady state, you don’t need value-add – like that’s when you go public or that’s when you take a large chance. Nobody values that. They just come for the board meeting [00:10:20] because it’s protocol.
We can make one connection or the other, but yeah but the value-add keeps diminishing as you scale. And it gets more focused. And so each firm, but tries to figure out where you can do that best. And there’s no way any firm is better than like a 6 on 10, 7 on 10 on the concept of value add, and most people know, say their value add is probably not better than a 3 on 10 or 4 on 10 right. Because the founder has an infinite problem; you go into asking them every day. It’s like being on a permanent shrink, right. There’s always something to solve. You can always grow faster; you can always grow faster, you can always be better. So, it’s so difficult to solve that to perfection. So what we have done is we’ve seen where problems surface in multitudes and basically build you know, specialists, try to bring specialists; align with specialists who can solve that problem. It could be something as simple as talent acquisition, could be really something as simple as getting it done through business dev, it’s of course, capital. So we have like a, almost an internal banking team and that’s how you evolve.
And I think that’s the nature of a good VC- like reacting to what your portfolio wants at scale over and above the capital. As I said, the capital value, once it’s in the bank, the founder is going to say, so what. Unless you can give me the next round, your value is done with that cheque right after the wiring.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: Wow, this is very comprehensive to begin with and gives you an overview of the venture model and what Blume is doing on the surface. But, you know, I have like an offbeat question here. Primarily (overlapping by Karthik Reddy: Yeah) it may not be relevant, but let’s talk about what counts as a ‘win’ right. Because I think people will have different definitions of it.
You mentioned it. And you said that you know briefly that you’re aiming for a half a billion, 1 billion valuation and even more right. And you have a very interesting ideology, which I thought I’d bring up later, but you had this concept against secondaries, right? So as a venture firm and you’ve spoken about going for glories like you’ve spoken in the past about how, if a founder’s not going for that, you know, you get one shot at a glory; you brought out that cricket reference: if you’re not aiming for a century then why do you try it [00:12:25]. So giving all of those pointers, what really counts as a win? And in that context, what are you looking for when you’re evaluating a founder, or for that matter- a team. So what counts as a win for you and what counts as a win for them or what should they ideally be aiming for?
Karthik Reddy: So we used to, I have this anecdote, and I’ll start with that- so three four different things you’ve asked. So let me break that down.
Firstly, you know, we used to have a concept. We put it in a pitch deck to our investors in fund 2 and they would all stare at it and say, what the, what is this guy talking about? So we actually, the slide said, the headline said ‘long-term value of a founder’.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: LTV
Karthik Reddy: LTV of a founder yeah. And they were like, what does this mean?
So I said it doesn’t matter whether the founder failed or not in the traditional sense, you’re asking me for a definition of success, the definition of success, whether that founder relationship, seen from both sides – from them to us and from us to them – actually offers incredible value to both sides for the 10, 15 year timeframe right. So in fact, I was going to blog about it, but the news is not out; the cycle of that news is not out.
But if you look at our Runnr founders who sold to Zomato right; it’s not about whether they sold the company at a certain valuation to Zomato of which we are making some capital, by the way. Now we are doing the secondary right in Zomato. And so we will make some, some capital gains on that. But what’s interesting is both of them are potentially going to be founders again. In the last year we’ve done 4-6 deals after COVID; 4 of them are existing founders in the room from a legacy side.
Not because I’m shunning everybody else, just that we were in touch with them. And we liked their ideas on a thesis basis, any which way; and we love the relationships and we know them for the longest. So we’ve gone ahead. So for me the win is that; the win is whether on the second innings, they can create a half-unicorn or not; they didn’t in the first clearly.
So unlike the cricket analogy [00:16:00] that you used, it’s not like, cause you go out every time wanting to essentially hit a century, or a double century, right? But unlike a cricketer we don’t have hundred tests to prove that. I have a series right. Each of these takes three to seven to 10 years right? And here like, unlike sport, where you go for a 20 year period, here you could be playing the same innings for 10 years, 15 years.
So you are just waiting whether they’ll hit that series century, or double century after that you don’t want, you don’t need them. They don’t need you. They will be retired, right. So you are waiting, and basically you have like a two to three test series where they have to hit the centuries. So that’s the analogy… I’m using yours to build a new one for myself.
It’s basically; you want to see ‘ek do teen innings mein maar sakta yeh’ you know potentially. And that you can’t predict with perfection. Why? Because you’re also picking 24 year olds; you are picking 29 year olds, you’re picking 33 year olds and you’re picking 40 year olds right. So the 40-50 year olds are like 40, 45 year olds are super determined in the last innings ‘yeh nahi toh kabhi nahi’ right. So that’s one category.
20 to 23 year olds are like Rishabh Pant in his first innings right or Kohli in his first innings. You don’t know whether they will perform but you know that greatness is there. Some of them may not come back to you because I think unlike cricket, a sport which is based around raw talent, especially if it’s individualistic talent, right. Football is different right? Your team sucks, you might not shine. In cricket if your teammate sucks you might still be hitting centuries, whereas here it’s more like a team sport. So you might see raw talent, but you might not know how they can build teams, how to sustain teams; how they build a team around them; how they might grow. So you’re measuring all of that and it’s so difficult to get right, which is why over 50-60 years, even the best of the Valley VCs don’t have a better hit rate than any of us. ‘Agar itna predictable hota’ the concept of a win, they would have fine tuned it by now right. So it’s much like a sports team, right. You get different guys in different eras. How do you build that to become a championship team is not necessarily easy. And so for us, the win crudely put; the reason we removed the LTV slide is the investor doesn’t care. So you are saying the guy has great talent but ‘teen baar aake you know single digit pe out hogaya. Muje kya patha’
So I need someone, you know, because only the centuries seem to matter for me from an IRR perspective and that’s the only measurement coming to you. You can be cute about everything else, but you’ll eventually be getting benchmarked against global standards on what grade dollar IRR is. 80 percent of my capital is dollar money now. I can’t say, you know, I’m doing something cute and great and I became 500 crores and I should celebrate right. Unfortunately that era has gone. That you do but with your own money in India, you don’t come and take; same argument; you don’t come to overseas institutions and waste [00:17:20] 20, 30 million dollars. Raise from Indian HNIs or enterprise or raise from, you know smaller monies and get smaller outcomes.
No problem. But if you’re competing with some Chinese $10 billion startup outcome every quarter, then you better buck up and see how you can deliver those yourself. So I think when those lenses apply combining these two points as reasons to stay in a journey; when I’ve been asked this question, my sort of punch line answer is I’ll stay, as long as the founder stays. Because if you play it for that, you know, a particular century innings, whether he is on 50 or whether he is on 100 or whether he is on 125, the bet I’m making is as long as I have some more time to watch him play. That’s the caveat; of course my fund life is reaching an end and I will make a different decision. So I’m only being idealistic when I make that statement and saying as long as I have time to watch him play and his strike rate doesn’t drop, I will hold, I will continue watching right. If his strike rates are dropping; he has got tired; he has got old; he is playing for a draw now; you know you guys can go now I am going to increase my score to 200 but at my pace, then I leave, which is why a lot of people exit around the IPO, because a lot of the businesses that do reach there tend to sort of- the growth line goes from this to this; It’s a much steeper curve than a shorter curve. So as long as you think about it, a lot of expectation from your LPs is that you generate; if you’re an incredibly good venture partner you have to generate 25% compound in terms. So by the seventh or eighth year, you know which one of those five, seven companies out of the 30 that you’ve made – 25 to 30 that you have made are going to be the key drivers of that. Now the question to exit- whether it is in a secondary or whether it’s in an M&A you don’t have a choice. IPO is fantastic because it’s public. Nobody needs to make the choice for you to make it whenever you want people to hold for three months, six months, and three years. Secondary is a, basically a judgment call that you’re making that if I don’t have time, I should partly put it through because my investors need it.
If I have time; will the pace of growth be at the same point by 25-30% in terms of value creation not just revenue, because I have to be able to exit that company also two years from now. This is never easy by the way, in the private markets. So you’ve got to be thoughtful about it. I’m not being, I don’t intend to be stupid about it, but you’ve got to be thoughtful about it.
But if the person is playing for a big outcome, why are you surrendering that share so early right. So a casepoint, in about a week or 10 days from now you’ll see a news article, which already leaked last week; what I was doing, we are doing a secondary fund to buy all of our best fund one positions. And because we don’t think that they have reached the potential that we would have liked to see them reach in the tenure period that we have held for them in that sort. We think there’s another 4-5 years of glory.
If I wasn’t that obsessed about seeing it to its end state, why would I, you know, make that secondary fund happen? [00:20:15] I’m managing the secondary fund. I could have easily- as easily have sold those positions to the existing cap table in most of those companies, they were willing to buy; esp – the Purplles and Turtlemints of the world.
There are buyers willing to take that step, but I said, no, I don’t want to; I don’t want him to make money when I know I can make that. I have faith that these will still triple from here, quadruple from here – three to five years from now. And so that’s a 25-30% IRR. That’s why I hold on to shares. Not because I’m being silly about it.
At some point you have to exit. There’s no, there’s no doubt, but that exit until it reaches its potential that you imagine because these companies are sitting at 200-ish million valuation. I know they can be a billion dollars. Why are you leaving money on the table? And fast enough – not in 10 years I mean three, four, five years.
So why are you leaving money on their table and that’s how we think about the broader notion of exiting; also judging the notion of success on the basis of that. Every entrepreneurial journey is to be cherished in some sense right unless the entrepreneur screws up and leaves a bad taste in the mouth and they operate either unethically or stupidly, just totally underperform what your expectations are.
But unfortunately I can say, hey, he was such a nice guy – the startup failed. The only way that converts to a success is if they come back and prove all the naysayers from the first innings wrong, that to me is success. Similarly unless they play for the end outcome, I might say – he was a nice guy. He was a buddy. I still have a drink with him. The world doesn’t care. It’s a very harsh place out there. Yeah. They don’t reward, you know, that nicety or an attempt to build as an end in itself. It’s a means to a bigger journey. If it plays out, they will laud you, if it doesn’t play out, you’ll be relegated to memory.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: Wow. All right. That was power packed in the sense that, you know, so many things to learn and being able to have that conviction, I’d follow up with that conviction point later, but let’s take a stab at, let’s say, you know, you met uncountable number of entrepreneurs and founders I’m guessing across [00:22:15] the last couple of years, the last decade and more, and personally also you’ve been on a journey where you’ve you know having founded Blume; so you have that lens to being a founder as well, and you continue to build an institution that lasts beyond yourself. So having said that what are some of the things that you think truly differentiate the special founders and I wouldn’t call them winners or losers like I’m not really equipped to let’s say call it that, but the special founders, like beyond the great team, large market, ambition beyond that, what are some of the things that you’ve seen that have truly stood out?
These could be companies that you might not have, you know, necessarily invested in or founders that, you know, might not be a part of your portfolio, but what those special things are, but given the information advantage that we have – would love to understand some of the nuances that you’ve noticed and observed.
Karthik Reddy: So again, good question. And obviously a lot of VCs get asked this. You’re asking me to double click on the double click and I’m going to try doing that. No, I would borrow from a fellow sort of entrepreneur VC, like myself, who brought this up at a dinner once about a year, a year ago. He was an Aussie; came from a very humble beginning.
I think he and his mum moved to the UK and he hit it out of the park. I mean in terms of he’s become like a real estate baron. And I think he’s like a billionaire or something like that. Now he was investing in a lot of our companies and some of us had been catching up over dinner, like a whole group. And then he asked us all the same question and I liked his answer the best, very simple, very, very simplistic. He said every one of those really special people have something to prove to the world. So as much as you might be motivated by the fact that you know, I want to solve for commerce or I want to solve a SaaS product or whatever, I think greatness does not come from that alone.
You can build [00:24:15] a phenomenal customer. You can build a phenomenal product. I can build a great headphone design and like license it out for royalties and chill. So problem solving alone does not get you there right. It’s problem solving, as you said, is a key core ingredient that they’re solving a large problem that they’re able to imagine a particular market size.
They have incredible capacity to build teams right. I’m talking about the super-super heroes right. And, all that is great, but there’s something further underneath I think. It’s like what Musk said the other day on that Clubhouse chat, right? He says what do entrepreneurs you know look for in terms of motivation if you need motivation. So all of us get butchered as entrepreneurs by various constituents, right – Could be the VC who rejects you 49 out of 50 times, or 49 VCs who rejects you.
For me, if there’s, you know, the same when I go for my money – your family thinks what the hell is this guy doing?
I thought he went to a good college, right. Why isn’t he earning like a billion-dollars? Why isn’t it a million dollar cushy job in his late forties? So you’re getting bombarded by everyone and by all constituencies- and you still have to prove that you’re playing for something bigger and bigger and bigger.
And then the minute you get satisfied, that means you are not getting to that outstanding category. It’s like, it’s like scoring 500 runs in that innings – I like how you picked that analogy so I’m going to keep that going for this hour, but basically why stop at a hundred, 150? Why not at 400, 450? Why not get more than what a Lara has scored?
So that takes a unique sort of persistence and pedigree, which is why, as you said, these people never fit patterns or formulas right, which is why you have the world’s richest men- all being in that crazy zone right. They are all built beyond any notion of traditional success [00:26:15] and they’re all extraordinarily quirky and crazy at one level.
So that’s one. Of course they are highly intelligent and they are quirky is one thing. The second I’ve noticed I think very important, just as empirical evidence I feel like- they are just hungry to learn and become better. There is no- there doesn’t seem to be a ceiling at all for that.
So if the guy’s become, you know, a billion dollars worth; he’s thinking, what all do I need from a tools perspective? It’s not about the simple ambition of reaching 5 billion or 10 billion. So don’t get me wrong. That’s a very foolish notion, right. But as an individual, how do I become incredibly more capable of making that 10-billion outcome also look as easy as the billion dollar right. And that means a total upgrade of what some say a unique animal. So, and that is remarkable sometimes to see, I can’t say I’ve seen hundreds of them, but when you do see them, you begin to now recognize those traits of those people. And I’m sure as we get more mature as an ecosystem, you would see more of them.
They’re not perfect role models. When they become role models for others they become teachers for others. And that’s how I think the ecosystem grows. So we are still very nascent given that this entire cycle we’re talking about is 15 years old, two business cycles. But I think this decade could answer a lot of these questions for us even more objectively than ever before.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: For sure. Love the points in there, although like, you know, a lot of the things that you mentioned in terms of fear and the goalpost shifting, like those are things that are, again, we can’t quantify them because the goalpost is always shifting for everybody. But part of it, as I understood, you know, it depends upon what you’re trying to prove out there and how far you’re willing to go for it.
So that’s a wonderful takeaway. I have multiple thoughts in my head again, but I want to touch a bit upon, you know, pattern recognition, because I think [00:28:15] I haven’t asked this question before, but this is one question that daunts me in a lot of ways and I’ve thought really hard about it, right? So traditionally, a VC has had the advantage of, let’s say a lot of information, a lot of business models, a lot of founders, and you’re looking for patterns. So if this worked for somebody or if this didn’t, that’s a, you know, false negatives, false positives. You’re looking for those signals all the time. However, there’s this contrarian objective or viewpoint as well, right?
That the Airbnbs of the world, they were not essentially; let’s say the most direct idea, right. They were not trend following or mega trends seeking ideas. They were trend breaking ideas right. And you’ve mentioned this before in terms of spotting the exceptions. So what I’m trying to say, that a business, which is by definition bound by pattern recognition, calls for the greatest objectives to be breaking patterns.
How do you as a venture capitalist cope up with that and to that if we add a founder objective, when a founder is trying to create a category creating startups, he often gets rejected by VCs, right? So where does, how do those parts of the spectrum fit each other and eventually blossom let’s say an ecosystem.
Karthik Reddy: So the category creating ones are the toughest. I think that they are really the toughest ones right. And so you’re right. You’re, even there, I think people are looking, if you look at most of the ecosystem, they’re trying to match these patterns, but the reality is they are effectively using their gut to nail down a particular founder, right, as opposed to the idea or the pattern recognition in terms of what will work in that idea right. And because you really don’t know by Series C or D, what the business will look like, right. Again, the person who takes the company to a half a billion or a billion, if they’re not imaginative enough to actually shape categories; they will actually get locked out
They’ll get stopped out. If it is not differentiated enough, somebody either an existing corporate or an existing startup will compete with them [00:30:20], or the market will get cluttered. So, if you’re innovating at that level, I don’t think you can give as much credit to the investor. The investor only did a great job picking a founder who’s again, capable of evolving that rapidly. So the more you want to go on that spectrum of category creation and finding the exception – in some sense, the more dependent I think you are on the founder, less on the market, less on the idea because you don’t know what we and in lot of these cases where that has happened if you think about it, founders have come to serve the idea and become the rock star. So I’ll give you an example today, like Musk recently, like there was an article a few days ago. He’s not the founder of Tesla, he bought into this-
Jivraj Singh Sachar: He bought Tesla, yeah
Karthik Reddy: If you look at this guy Travis, yes, he was a part of the team, but it was the other guy’s idea right. And basically Travis was the execution giant on that idea. So if not for Travis that idea wouldn’t have scaled. Uber wouldn’t have probably been created. Whatever we might know if we don’t know Travis, whatever views that we have on him don’t matter. But basically it takes that kind of gumption to actually create a category.
It’s not for the faint hearted, but it’s not for the plain sighted right. So the founder, I think, tends to create that path and which is why sometimes they are so early in the game as well. The PalmPilot equivalent hand held was devised by Jobs in 91, but the market was not ready for it. And so the adoption curve was just not there. If you build products well, ahead of time, no matter how much of a visionary you are, sometimes that fails as well. So I think that combination of piecing categories and that’s why category creation of these mega companies are difficult to build and eventually in the US I think they have established systems of when they see something like that winning, how do we put enough professional help on that to make sure that it becomes a rock star.
It’s not just founder vision that drives a Google, Facebook, [00:32:25] you know, an Apple to its end glory right. India needs that maturity as well. I don’t think we have reached that yet. We’re still again on that spectrum, I think we are more dependent on founders leading us there rather than putting professional setups that can actually scale that company as well.
Right. We hopefully get there. Flipkart was a great example. And that’s, so I’ve said this in the past where we’re essentially saying great founders, great investors should- or rather great founders should basically outgrow the investors for one. And then they should let the companies outgrow them. Same argument that you, I think you alluded to it.
If I do build an institution with Blume, I would want the same thing for me. Right? The firm should outgrow me. I shouldn’t be a dependency anymore. Anyway this decade I hope I am not because the team has already widened. I don’t see 8 out of 10 deals for the first time. And so you, you – that’s scaling in my opinion. And that’s what allows for something exceptional to come out, not the pattern that, hey, this is how, you know, this particular company’s playbook is – let’s copy that playbook in terms of org building or culture or structure.
And similarly, there is no playbook, if you think about it on a truly, you know, path defining venture, if it already exists out there. So playbooks, I think the pattern recognition I would argue is about – It’s almost like – think of pattern recognition as an early detection mechanism for enabling positive things and disabling negativity.
So that could start as early as your selection of why these 10 companies out of the 2000 that you saw this year. So pattern recognition is almost an eliminator as much as an enabler, if you ask me at the selection stage. Once you’re are in the game, what you’re trying to do is do pattern recognition to what I, what I- that’s another of my ten-year punchlines – I said the VC’s job is to basically decrease the odds of failure or increase the odds of success for a startup and for a founder. You don’t do anything else outside of that. Anything else is maya if you think you actually enable [00:34:25] them success – to become successful. So in those activities, if you think about it, when you actually are making a genuine action towards those activities, a lot of the time it is pattern recognition. You will see early signs of a founder divorce. You will see early signs of a founder crumbling under the pressure. You see the fact that there is, you know, people management is broken. You see going overseas is not yet happening in a particular company. So to me, pattern recognition is about that. It’s about, you know, elimination and selection, right?
It is about certain traits because it trains your gut to look for those traits, right? The minute you put it into a template and try to put a score on it, it will fail. That’s what I tell my colleagues as well right. All of these, you can do forms, you can do templates, you can do scores. None of them are going to help you find that billion dollar output. You should record it for learning.
You should go in and check it back at the end of the fund and actually see what happened on the basis of what you guys thought. And so that you’re basically telling your gut; your gut is trained, but your brain is sometimes a hindrance. Your brain is the one getting conditioned by all sorts of nonsense, the gut and the heart are more sort of intuitive.
So you want to be able to ensure that you’re getting the right inputs for the gut and the heart and not letting your brain overrule. Brain is the one that does track pattern recognition and then translates the best of that to your gut, which is why gut instinct if you ask me. One says gut instinct it’s essentially brain waves coming through the gut. And so you’re, uh, you’re basically trying to train that ability to see through a lot of these better. And I think that’s what pattern recognition does after a point in time. I don’t think when I look at the folks I tend to like, I don’t think I could go and map them against a template at all. I wait for that intuition to pick them at one level, especially when it comes to the founder. On the business idea front – not easy. As you said, like, you know how many people could have imagined [00:36:25] Airbnb becoming what it did? How many people could probably imagine Google becoming what it did, even all the VCs who backed them up after series C cannot fathom that – that’s my limited point, right. They’re riding a wave, the A and seed guy took a chance, right? The A and the seed guy took a chance and the rest of them are riding some wave. They’re also like, this is another analogy, one of the value payer’s uses.
He said, basically VCs have waves of funds. If they see a big wave they jump on it because they all sort of catch and surf it for a bit of fun. So every wave that comes, they don’t want to miss it, they want to catch it, right. And so that is the pattern recognition. Okay, a wave is coming, let’s go jump on it. And you’re absolutely right actually, even at Blume, we probably are somewhat guilty of, I would say in every fund 50-60% falls into a bias of pattern recognition- either on the founder side or on the opportunity. The other 40% is where I think you’re saying, no, let’s stretch our imagination a little bit. Right? Let’s lean on the imagination of the founder.
Am there with all to build to for 10-, 15 years. And let’s take a shot, those tend to be the wilder bids, right? Not all of them will play out, but as you said, as you, and I know out of 25, 30 bids, you need four or five of them to play out massively. So, I will tell you post-facto, I think it’s too early another 4-5 years I can tell you what of these went by what I mean, I need to look at data. I don’t think that the venture industry gives them enough data around the vintage returns on how all of the questions that you’re asking me – how did they play out in a particular vintage? You only want to talk about those 10 big winners, and you try to extrapolate from that. That’s not the right way to do it.
You should take a batch of 20, 30 companies and say, what made you play those 30 in that cycle? And what actually worked because what didn’t work is easy to identify and poke them holes. What worked is the one which is going to dictate whether there was a pattern and all. So I don’t have a perfect answer, but I think this is how I [00:38:30] use these as sort of heuristics to make my judgment calls.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: That makes me think about the fact that sometimes what I find really fascinating is the fact that you have to keep challenging yourself. I mean, like it can’t get comfortable even as a VC and it shouldn’t, right, when you’re relying on your brain to find things that are already existing and we can talk about first principles what we want (Overlapping – Karthik Reddy: Absolutely), but that challenging your own mind is something that I feel is very fascinating apart from there you know, and let’s take a jump at- Let’s say board construct, because again, like this is something that I had a very little knowledge about, but I’ve heard a couple of phrases that I want to bring up and would love your opinion again, from both sides of the viewpoint right? So the first point here is Vinod Khosla very famously says this right – That 70% of the board members involved actually have the capacity to bring a company down.
Karthik Reddy: And destroy the value, yeah.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: Yeah. Destroy value and he talks about how board members do not get bold enough to speak about the right things, right. So giving context there and asking you a follow-up in the sense that how should VCs look at taking a board position and why? That’s on the VC front.
And how should let’s say founders look at how much advice to take from, because again, they Vinod Khosla says this, right – The single most difficult decision for a founder is to take whose advice on what, right. And that becomes a very, very important pointer. So as a VC venture, you give advice and how, because you’re not on the ground, you don’t know as much.
And you can only speak from, let’s say theory; and for a founder when to listen to whom and how much is something that I’d love your advice on before we move on to closing questions.
Karthik Reddy: So it’s a tough one what you asked. So the reason they exist is I think more from disciplin,e oversight, fiduciary responsibility perspective, and then layered with the soft stuff, guidance, mentorship, advice, et cetera.
So clearly the reason the notion of a board existed in a public company or a large company [00:40:30] is the first thing; not because the CEO wants gyan from the board member. So let’s work backward, like everything in life, we talk about exit, we talk about a public company, what does it take to become a public company?
And that’s how you build backward. And so similarly in board constructs also let’s move backwards and explore why the boards exist. So the role of a board. So when you come earlier and earlier the relevance is not as much. If you don’t trust the founder or if the founder is not trustworthy, you have a much bigger problem than worrying about governance – governance and board seats et cetera. All of that does not get you a win, right. They don’t ensure anything actually. In fact, the fact that you have to apply discipline and governance to get your money back or get 1.2X back, or 1.5X back is the beginning of the loser outcome in that portfolio.
So you’ll make some money back. Then you have this small win that “paanch saath company meile recover kar liya paisa”. But like again the LP is going to say, okay, yeah. You know how to manage yourself well, you know how to manage my money well. If you don’t do anything on a board, you just give picked well, you give advice outside of a board.
I mean, you have the same five winners, noone’s going to ask you whether you sat on the board and all, right. Therefore I think it comes down to how you engage with the CEO meaningfully or the founder meaningfully, and same thing, what I’d said five minutes ago is, are you able to lend pattern recognition – not because you just heard it there and ‘magga maro-ed’ it in another board and you’re applying it here, right.
You’ve seen the outcomes also play out in a certain way. You’re actually going one other level of intellectual mapping and actually saying will that advice work for this founder, for this team; for this environment. That’s why some of the time, a lot of the advice sounds dumb because it’s not being contextualized.
The advice without context is useless. If you actually apply. And again, it’s very difficult. There’s no perfect parallels [00:42:34]. There are only vague parallels. But if there is a SaaS company trying to grow 2X per year on a base of $10 million and you have a lot of great learnings from another company, just exactly – two years ago that doubled their revenue. That’s of course a full boatload of learning. How can you deny that? Right. So your job as a so-called board member, because if you’re not a board member, you won’t get all the insights. I’ll be honest. Founders can’t come and repeat themselves to like seven different people in the same fashion right? You can get 30 minutes post board, pre board chat around things which bug you as an investor, but that commonality of, you know, framework on which, how you absorb information and data can only happen in a common setting, therefore, a board meeting or a management meeting or whatever you want to call it. At that point if you are paying attention you can learn a lot. And it benefits other companies in your portfolio. Because your pattern matching skills are getting better and better. That’s why I said you are increasing odds of success of a game. Now, I wish the first statement you just started with was accurate or true. It’s not, that capital is abundant and you’re spoiled for choice, and it’s a commodity.
Reality is, you go and ask the best bankers in this country or else the best founders in this country – after six to eight months of work; in 80%, if not 90% of the cases, after 13 investors speak, there’s only one term sheet that presents itself. Okay. So you can’t, you can’t go and say, Oh, I heard he’s a great guy to have on the board.
So let me go and get a cheque from him. Even if he decides to give you a cheque- what the hell, how can you get the cheque from him right. So you’re stuck with the capital source set up, no second shot for most of the entrepreneurs. You can’t even determine who in that firm comes in and gives you that cheque. That’s sector dependent, right?
That is love dependent in that sense, I call it the love for the idea or founder love. So that chemistry matching is what makes them work. And so you can’t go and say, hey, Blume, I want you to depute Karthik on the board. No, Karthik is not available for you. Right. So you take [00:44:34] my colleague or you don’t get a Blume cheque. Right. So therefore, what is the moral of that lesson?
You can’t control who’s on your board beyond the point. Okay. So don’t try to fight that battle. That’s stupid for founders to do. Now once that person is in there on the board, you need to figure it out and actually do exactly what the board members try to do. But you gotta be smarter than the board member in terms of figuring out where is this guy’s advice and knowledge coming from?
Where is their input coming from? Is it from conscious knowledge? Is he, or she parrotting something without understanding the nuances of my business. So it takes about two, three, four engagements, but you broadly; smart founders know who to listen to on what, right. And they’re very good at assembling a small army of such advice and council, right.
And without using names, they will bounce it off. The other person who is a second opinion equivalent. So it’s like how you go to a doctor right. We go and get an estimate of how your health is? And basically you’re not that convinced or they don’t sound as promising. You always want a second opinion. And so it’s no different when it comes to dealing with board members and investors and angels, et cetera.
You’ve got to be very clever in how you align yourself with the right advice for the right things. There’s nobody’s like intending very, very few people intended to be bad people. So most of them are trying to be genuinely supportive. They may or may not have the skill sets or the competencies. And then eventually those kinds of firms die in their medium term.
In short term everybody survives because it’s a long term business. But in the medium, they won’t be around if they are actually not getting good at it right. And so if the folks are around and they’ve done enough of this, they’ve managed to do that and if they have managed to come on the board – there is value in listening to them. You can be careful and say, there’s never a perfect chemistry match on what I want and what they’re suggesting [00:46:33].
Some founders are unhappy that some founders, some board members, want to suppress their speed. Some people say, oh, he’s asking me to be too conservative. I can’t grow as fast. The reality is it’s investors’ money. If they don’t vote for you in the next round then you are in trouble. So if you can get profitable, then you talk whatever you want to, but if you can’t get profitable then shut up and listen. So you’ve got to be conscious of the characteristics of the risks you are taking as an entrepreneur. And therefore not apply like, you know, cookie cutter frameworks to resolve or deal with the board member, this is how I want, et cetera. And therefore you become the best entrepreneurs are great people managers across all things – customers, employees, peers, investors, you have to manage everybody.
And that’s true of whether it’s me or you, if you’re trying to be an entrepreneur or any of my star entrepreneurs. They are actually very very good with managing that people thing, and they haven’t been historically as genius as they might be if they are a little eccentric, they’ve had problems, right. The Musks and the Jobs of the world have had problems with their boards and others, because unfortunately too unconventional shakes up people. So there’s a balancing act. I think people – smart board members are beginning to recognize that it takes that level of, you know, it takes drive and madness to build great companies.
And therefore let’s temper it and modulate it and moderate it and get the person the right advice, let’s not kill that enthusiasm. Otherwise we won’t get that great output.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: Fair fair. I took back that level of realization and self-awareness on both sides, I think, right?
Karthik Reddy: Yes
Jivraj Singh Sachar: So as a board member, you have to be particular.
Karthik Reddy: It is a good summary. Yeah!
Jivraj Singh Sachar: What you are; let’s talk about and you shouldn’t just do it for the sake of it because it’d be detrimental in the long run. And so for the entrepreneurs that you need to know to listen to when and you need to be self-aware enough. So I think that’s my take away there.
Karthik Reddy: The smartest entrepreneurs do a select a set of preboard, board meetings, post-board. The best of them even tried to bring in five, seven members in the team, into the board to present. So that self-awareness [00:48:40] and responsibility is actually shared and they’re not making anyone feel unimportant, but they’re calibrating what importance and what matters they give to different teams.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: I had a founder on the show where he mentioned that, you know, he shares the board slides with the entire company because that’s the level of ownership, transparency that he wants to maintain. But those are amazing.
Karthik Reddy: That’s amazing
Jivraj Singh Sachar: Further Karthik one of the second last questions I had is let’s say on you right because your journey and your persona has also been very different; if not different very similar to how I might correlate from my lens right. So what I’m trying to say is that you went to a business school; you’ve been at Silicon Valley, you’ve had certain experiences when you started Blume, right? So, despite the, let’s say contextual reference of introductions, I would love to understand from you what your decision-making framework is right.
And again, I’m sure that these weren’t, like I say, very well framework oriented decisions. At least when you took that, but in hindsight, with the benefit of knowledge, again, what builds that conviction for you to be able to decide this is where I’m going to spend the rest of my year or the rest of my next five years on, because you have spoken a lot about, let’s say, you know, the long-term vision and combining that with decisions in the short run.
I think those are things that at least youngsters like myself need more knowledge about right. So I would love that perspective from you before we close the episode down with one last question.
Karthik Reddy: So I think there are three different-different points. So one at a personal level, I think it boils down to, you know, certain value systems that you believe in.
And you want to know whether you can sleep well with that decision. It’s not about picking companies. It’s about everything, about hiring someone, speaking to someone, what respect you give them, you know, how much you like sleeping with it, you know, after you’ve had a tirade with someone. So decisions are; a lot of decisions are around how you communicate them.
It’s not just about making the A or B decision [00:50:40], but how you actually deliver those decisions as well right. And so a lot of it is around – will I feel like I’ve lost something that I can’t get back in any other avatar. If it’s not, if it’s not substitutable, then I don’t feel the pain as much. I’ve just learned to – there is no incredible pain around anti-portfolio because my belief, for example, it’s been, if I can figure out how to – for every company I lose if I can’t figure out there’s another company equally good, then there’s something either wrong with India VC or Blume right; there is a problem. So don’t linger with – you shouldn’t be making decisions that you regret on any basis. And that is a personal value system thing. It’s different for each person. Right?
And basically that I use that personal value system to also judge a founder. If I feel like a founder will cut corners, I don’t want to live with that. If a founder says something nasty or behaves badly in the ecosystem, I actually take personal sort of liability for it. And actually tried to step in. Everything I think is a reflection of me, the brand, our brand, et cetera.
And so it’s brand custodianship drives me on most decisions. What will it mean for the brand? Because the brand is what you’ve now extended to twenty-five people in the team and 150 portfolio companies over a decade and 500 investors across three, four funds. So the brand becomes sanctity.
The second is, I realised then it’s not about you. You can’t decide this unilaterally. You’re not a dictator. So once you are in a partnership like structure, then you have to cater to the highest common factor amongst everybody. You can’t – otherwise things will quickly drop to the lowest common denominator.
So how do you build the culture of a firm, which is not about you alone, but about a few equals? So about two years ago, we did this exercise for the first time because I realized that I’m not able to put a construct, which is easily understandable by the entire firm. So the framework that we did was classic textbook organizational behavior, an MBA [00:52:42], which all of us laugh about when we do the class, where is all of this applicable. Cause you’ve never work a day in your life. You’ll come out of college environments and hostel rooms and you really don’t care how organizations function and you realize that if you, one culture alignment, mission, then you have to actually draw out, start from the mission statement, go to the vision and then basically chart out four five years at time to exactly the point you raised. Mission is like what outlasted me. Vision is what you can execute in a finite period of time. No point in telling what it’s going to happen in 2030, being a fast moving industry like ours.
I need to know what I can hold up to 2025. We took a five-year strategy and then the strategy is broken down to say – are everybody in the firm, clearly focused on the 10 things that need to be done to achieve that vision, right. And then break down and own those things, right. If nobody owns it, it won’t get done.
And so that became the second framework. The third when you asked me around how I make decisions more at a micro level. I have an interesting game theoretic framework around it. So I’m not an expert in game theory, maybe read the chapters read the books, but it has always stayed with me that essentially game theory is a great example of how you play on a human a day to day life, a chess board in day to day life where the players don’t have rules, like how you define them. They’re actually human beings who actually act irrationally or in a very different way. Every pawn does not behave like its identical self.
Every rook does not behave like it’s identical self right. Your job is to be able to look at the pieces of the puzzle and basically say, if I play all the steps out, what’s the end state going to look like. And sometimes actually you’d be surprised – most of the times the Nash equilibrium is there, which means there is an end state which is predictable, and most likely the end state that will occur.
Whenever I see a Nash equilibrium, I advance the entire decision making in the steps to today. Everything else to me feels like a waste of time in life. It’s mails [00:54:44], it’s 10 people getting involved with all of that to achieve exactly the same endpoint. So why bother, right? I mean, you’d be surprised if you actually play out those steps, like a chess game and then advance the decision, a lot of the stuff gets done. So, I mean, the only humble brag I would put there is that is, in our opinion, that is how we managed to do so much in 10 years starting from scratch, right. You don’t postpone what you know is an inevitability six months or nine months from now. So for anyone who’s enthusiastic in their early twenties, go and try to understand how game theory functions, right?
This is fundamentally every day you are interacting in an approximation of a real life game. You can’t help it. Like everybody doesn’t behave like the way you do, unless you are a dictator. Then you’re okay. You can play it like a chess board. Okay. You can actually set the rules by which they will all act and behave and dance, but it doesn’t work that way.
And in our lives it is even more so. The Series A we see acts in a certain way, the series B we see acts in a certain way, the series A founder acts in a certain way and the same founder in series B acts in a – your colleagues act in a different way, your partners act in a different way. So you got to be able to know those pieces of the puzzle. And it’s very important. I think in any entrepreneurial field to know how each one of your stakeholders behave and they’re not all the same. And that’s, I think is a key framework for me to understand, and I’m not saying I’m an ace at it, I’m just saying these are my guiding pillars.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: For sure
Karthik Reddy: I am not claiming that I am the best at it.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: For sure none of this is prescribing, but lots to take away from that framework. You know, just the fact that you have to have the vision to be looking like, you know, nine months, two years, five years, 10 years down the line, and then reverse.
I think reversing can happen as long as you have that framework or at least frame of mind to look ahead, one last question Karthik, and this has been so wonderful, so refreshing and really great advice coming from you in all aspects and great explanations. But I want to end this on a rather abstract note, right.
And I want to talk a bit about productivity because with your last answer as well, and in the past, when I’ve heard you [00:56:54], you’ve spoken about how to manufacture time, which is like a very fresh perspective, but at the same time, it’s very daunting as well, because it’s really easy for everybody to let’s say, take pressure, right. And today morning, before this call, before this interview, I was watching a TEDTalk on let’s say how to manufacture and what to do about productivity right. And it was very refreshing. So I’d love to hear it from you as to what your framework of looking at time, productivity and getting things done is. Is it for you to optimize for a result, or is it for you to optimize for the activities in a day or the quantum of them, right? Because you as a person is where you are, you responded to me on LinkedIn, which is very kind of you. You have written about, I remember you wrote about the playbook, which is one of my favorite things that I read.
It nurtured me to, you know, go ahead and watch it. And I loved that series. So you do so many things in the day right and you have I am sure much bigger responsibilities. So coming from you, and I would love to understand this productivity hack in the practical sense of things without getting too daunting.
Because when I look at somebody like you, I’m like, there’s so many things to be done in a day. How do I manage? So maybe we can end with that. And thank you so much for your time today.
Karthik Reddy: No! Thanks again for the opportunity. So I think, over the years, what I’ve discovered about myself is- everyone, including my wife used to say, you spend a lot of time counseling, sort of like educating many people; give advice to everybody who asks and you don’t get paid for it. You know what the ultimate irony is now I do all of that, but by actually, by giving money to someone else to do it. So you have to fund the guy to have him listen to you. So I think that was a phase. And clearly what I seem to enjoy is being a sponge for learning multiple small things in life. For me, I was talking to my teammates last year during COVID we were talking, various topics on our evening standup catch-ups [00:58:56] and I was reading the book Range and basically a lot of elements of interests in my life are all about range.
So I don’t think this is very prescriptive for most people. You have to be able to sort of multitask. You have to have a range of interests that you can do. A lot of people are not good at it. I know, including in my household, I know people are not going to be good at it. So it’s not for everybody, but if you have, if you have the range of interest, then you essentially realize that you want to experience a lot more than necessarily go deep in a particular subject.
And so what I’ve managed to do is find a career where- I allow myself that range and experience a lot. And so therefore I’m quite happy sitting on the side of the table where I’m at and not being necessarily being an entrepreneur, trying to solve a specific problem over 10 years; as much as I’m trying to solve a venture capital problem.
The joy of my customers being a range of ideas from, you know, my private catch-up is when someone brings carbon capture, tomorrow’s catchup, someone doing education. And that allows you to be super motivated, to learn about a lot of things and therefore be able to talk about a lot of things. But if you tell me, are you an expert; can you hold your own hosting a panel on carbon capture?
No, I can’t right. So it’s a personal preference at the first level. Second level is then what happens if you then optimize for not as much results in the traditional sense that it is a, like a sure shot win, but it’s a small win. It’s very iterative the way I think about productivity today. So as long as I’ve gotten 40, 50 things moving in a particular day by a small margin, I feel it is actually very, very beneficial to each of my stakeholders, right? Because you can go and sit. So our preference, for example, as a culture, what we’ve ended up building is actually breadth across everything. So, which means [01:00:57] we actually had a user nomenclature on the firm, which is ‘high frequency, low touch, high impact’. So meaning you engage as many times as possible.
But for as little time as possible delivering the max ROTI on that time. So all my productivity hacks are designed around exactly what I said. It is to maximise routine right, return on time invested and get as much as you can out of that, including the absurdity of like, you know, optimizing your seat on a plane for example.
So you are optimizing the amount of time you take from your bed to actually getting a seat in the plane. Everything’s optimised and you would say, no, it’s absurd, but you have to be built that way to be able to do that. I can’t ask; demand that of all 20 of my colleagues. Not all of them are built that way, but for who’s built that way, I’ve offered tips.
So similarly, when it comes to the number of things I do now, as I’ve evolved over the last 10 years, and I finish on that note because I realized that that’s what I do is not scalable on a one-to-one basis. So sometimes as much as I’ve been encouraging you as a young entrepreneurial podcaster to have the conversation with me, I’m doing it because you will be able to for the first time, ask a certain set of questions that nobody has asked in a certain way, but be able to propagate it to a thousand people, which I can’t do on my own. So to me, my ability to have this conversation with you itself is a productivity hack. I’m not trying to be a media celebrity.
That’s not my intent, but my ability to pass on those learnings in a structured way could not have happened otherwise. So four times, five times a year, when I’m given those opportunities, I happily take them because I know I am talking to five to ten thousand people who otherwise never would’ve spoken. So expanding, taking my learnings, my philosophy, and being able to expand it to 5,000 people is the ultimate productivity, right?
That’s five hours possibly. It’s five, six hours. I don’t have to prepare or study for it. It’s engraved. So whatever you’re asking is all impromptu. We didn’t even prepare for this conversation. So, what more can I ask from the 6 hours of my year? So each of my activities is designed in my opinion [01:02:55] in this fashion.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: Beautiful. I think that’s an amazing way to end the episode. As you mentioned that, you know, return on time invested needs to be maximized and optimized for, and that’s a beautiful thought. With that, Karthik I would like to again, thank you for being on the show. This has been super helpful, super inspiring, super productive and insightful. Thank you so, so much for your afternoon here. I’m sure this is going to be very helpful for a lot of people like myself.
Karthik Reddy: Thanks for asking all the tough questions.
Jivraj Singh Sachar: So that was Karthik Reddy, managing partner of Blume Ventures on the 40th episode of the Indian Silicon Valley podcast, ‘demystifying venture capital’. The amazingly refreshing perspectives, the guardrails to decision-making, the candid explanations, the cricket anecdotes, the contrarian thoughts and the super valuable insights make this episode extremely special.
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That was it from this one. But I will see you next week for another episode. Stay tuned and keep building.