Exclusive: After a decade of playing investor, Shaadi.com founder Anupam Mittal mulls second innings as entrepreneur

After founding successful ventures like matrimonial site Shaadi.com, realty platform Makaan.com and mobile media company Mauj Mobile, and making over 50 angel investments, Founder and CEO of People Group Anupam Mittal is ready to don the entrepreneurial hat again, after almost a decade.

“I’m not done yet,” Mittal told DEALSTREETASIA, on the sidelines of the LetsVenture conference last week,  when asked if he was looking at another entrepreneurial venture.

“The wonderful teams and senior leadership that I work with, they’ve been so good, right from Shaadi.com, Makaan.com, and Mauj Mobile that they’ve pretty much worked me out of a job, they work independently. So, I have to create a job for myself. I’m constantly looking at opportunities where I can build more companies. I’m looking at two-three areas, that are consumer-centric,” he said.

While he is yet to zero in on the idea that he wants to build his next venture on, Mittal is likely to re-enter the market as an entrepreneur in 2017, which he says would be a good time.

“I like building brands, I like to solve large problems that are consumer related.  I think India is a very unbranded market. So anything that is a confluence of all that… My focus will be the consumer, the digital space is still very exciting,” he said.

Mittal, who is an active angel investor in several startups, started Shaadi.com in 1996 before forming People Group to look at other opportunities in technology space. Mittal has made angel investments in over 50 startups, including taxi-aggregator Ola, which is now a unicorn, InnerChef, which recently raised over $1 million in  pre-Series A round, financial tech firm LetsVenture among others.

Early last year, he sold two of his other ventures—dating app Fropper, which was been brought under another dating app Thrill in which People Group has separately invested;  and property listing portal Makaan.com, which was acquired by News Corp-backed online property broker PropTiger.

Subsequently, in July 2015, Mittal stepped down as CEO of online matrimonial portal Shaadi.com to focus on global expansion and new areas of business.

In the last 10 years, Mittal is counted among some of India’s most prolific angel investors. Having over 50 angel investments under his belt, mostly in the consumer-tech space, Mittal feels the biggest opportunity right now lies in healthcare, education, sanitation, smart cities, garbage disposal, water management.

“I’m looking at starting to learn about these areas and potentially invest in some of them. Would I build a company in these areas? Probably not, I don’t understand them. So I will probably co-invest or build spaces along with somebody who understands these sectors,” he said.

With valuations at a fairer level now, Mittal feels 2016 will be a good year to invest, so while he invested in over a dozen startups in 2015, he says the current year is likely to see fewer, but larger investments by him.

“In 2015, I wrote a lot of smaller cheques and a few large ones, in 2016, I”ll focus more on probably doing a few larger deals, just because now you have the time to do more due diligence, you can filter out deals,” Mittal said. “I like to come in at the first stage with the first cheque, typically I would invest $50,000 to $100,000 initially,” he added.

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