India Global Forum: PE Veteran Sanjay Nayar On Funding Winter And 'Responsible' Founders

KKR Senior Advisor Sanjay Nayar said there’s no better ecosystem than India to encourage founders to capture a massive market.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Sanjay Nayar. (Source: IGF live feed)</p></div>
Sanjay Nayar. (Source: IGF live feed)

There is "no doubt" that we are in a tech winter, according to KKR Senior Advisor Sanjay Nayar, who said that he hasn't "seen a world with this much uncertainty".

“With inflation, recession, the war. So it’s a pretty interesting time. Lot of businesses are getting disrupted. In a way, it’s a winter, waiting for a spring,” said Nayar while speaking at the India Global Forum, UAE 2022.

While the traditional answer to "when spring might be around after winter" would be to take a look at the capital markets, that’s not the case now, he said. 

“I think we’re going to look at some very interesting entrepreneurs who are solving real world problems and they get funded responsibly and sensibly. And also when some existing ones get refunded and funded all the way to the home run. That’s when you say that the spring is round the corner.”

Nayar has also launched Sorin Investments, his new tech-focused fund.

“So, responsible founders, responsible funders and good successes in quick succession. That’s when you declare that the markets are back," he said.

Nayar defined "responsible funders" as those who would share learnings with founders. “If they play that role, you’re talking of really responsible behaviour by funders vis-a-vis the founders.”

According to Nayar, to be a responsible founder is to not get carried away with the swagger of money. “Sustainability of the business model, cutting out hobbies, having a path to profitability and yet keeping an eye on innovation. I don’t think they should become traditional models,” he said.

“If you have a climate of shared learnings and responsible behaviour—which isn’t that difficult by the way—it’s a recipe for spring.”

India As A Hub Of Innovation

Nayar expects India to be the “hub of innovation”. “Some of the things we have in India are par excellence. Probably the flag bearers of the world.”

The availability of capital and large population are also helping. “This theme that there’s no dry powder is totally wrong. You have new pools of capital emerging in India—local institutions, local family offices, besides global investors. There’s no dearth of capital.”

It is at this point of time that winners will emerge, he said. “That is the key.”

There’s no better ecosystem than India to encourage smart founders to capture a massive market, Nayar said. 

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