Last Thursday this reporter was in a spot most entrepreneurs would love to be in: having a cup of coffee with a venture capitalist as he revealed exactly what he’s looking for in a business before he cuts a check.
SRI Capital founder Sashi Reddi, himself an entrepreneur abducted by the venture capital world, said he usually gets two pitches a day, but that’s after narrowing the field by way of three filters: companies must be in enterprise software or “deep tech” (think AI and VR), they must sell to the U.S. market and they must have at least three customers.
“I don’t care if they’re pre-revenue, but I need companies to have at least three customers validating that what they’re selling is worth using,” Reddi said over the roar of a busy Old City coffee house. “Even if customers are not paying for it.”
As with many other venture capital firms, these prerequisites only get you that first meeting. Then what? The investor is looking for persistence, first of all. “If someone gets easily shaken by small obstacles, that’s a bad sign,” Reddi says as he shakes his head. “Of course things are going to be difficult, but I’m looking for someone who’s looking to move forward.”
Reddi, as does pretty much every investor, is turned off by founders who hang on to their day jobs. “Risk mitigation makes me nervous,” he said. “You want us to take the risk with money but you won’t take the risk with us?”
You may remember Reddi from that $1 million round raised by edtech startup Yellowdig, or that $8 million Series B raised by Sidecar from a host of local investors. What’s next? Reddi’s keeping quiet, overseeing the 25 deals currently on his firm’s books.
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