Originally Post Sandhya Hegde on Linkedin Pulse
As an active Series A/B investor, most companies I like have been supported by great angel investors and seed funds. They help founders quit their day jobs, build a team and get to their first revenue. Having that right first investor back you is life changing — they can set the tone for many investments to come and provide you with the credibility and advice you desperately need.
Needless to say, not all early investors are the same.
Below are people doing great work. I define great work as good people being very responsive to entrepreneurs, having a clear vision and supporting them well. Not as up rounds and exits - that's still a bit of a lottery in India. I have categorized these investor channels in 3 different groups — angel networks, fundraising platforms and seed funds. Over time, group 2 will eat group 1 (à la Angel List). Each group behaves very differently in how they source and make decisions. If I missed you, ping me (@sandhya) and I’ll look you up.
Who have I NOT included? Accelerators. Not that they aren’t relevant, just that there are very few awesome ones and they don’t give you much cash. Here they are: Pankaj Jain at 500Startups (update: they make small seed investments in 50% of their accelerator's startups), Abhishek Gupta at TLabs , Vijay Anand attheStartupCenter and Rajesh Sawhney at GSF. There are new accelerators popping up everyday like these guys. There are some bad ones too. I will add the ones I have worked with and liked to this list over time.
Angel NetworksWhile IAN and Mumbai Angels are the largest networks, how a group is run and who is in it are far more important than how many angels you can get access to. Small exclusive groups where investors themselves are easy to reach and give you quick feedback will help you make better decisions as a founder:
That said, here are the guys whose only job is to lead seed rounds and who will still be making seed investments when things get tough: