Book Review: The Moonshot Game

The Book ‘The Moonshot Game-Adventures of an Indian Venture Capitalist’ is written by Rahul Chandra.

Rahul Chandra was amongst the first VCs in India as the first employee of Walden International way back in 1997. He went on to be the founder of Helion Ventures and the Book is about his experiences in the two decades in the Indian VC industry.

As an investor in the public markets, I always found the VC world to be strange and exotic….if not outright bewildering. Never could understand how did they did the deals they did at the valuations which will make a public markets investor gag.

The author does a marvelous job in explaining the world of Venture Capital in the Indian context. He walks thru the various fund raises, the investments they did, the rationale of those investments, how the invesments panned out etc.

Venture Capital was an alien animal in the Indian jungle 20 years back and as one reads the Book, one gets a good sense of how the Indian eco system has evolved. Earlier the founders were all interested in copying the successful US startups and creating the desi version of the same. Next came the mobility way.Next came the founders who were native digital citizens and wanted to create solutions for Indian-specific problems.

The Book also offered insights into the world of angel investing. I was astounded to know that in 2015 the foodtech space saw more than 400 startups ! Only two survive now.

One takeaway I found useful was the question the author asks while doing a periodic assessment of his portfolio cos – “Would I put all the capital at my disposal into this company if I could?Why Not? Or Why?”

The other interesting takeaway was “Our investments that were focused on the greater mass of consumers who were NOT in the top income bracket were the ones that scaled best”

The author also narrates on the rift between the partners which caused Helion to shut down. His sense of fair play comes across in that chapter.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Book and would recommend it to folks interested in Venture Capital & India’s startup scene.

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