Will has been investing in the US through two boom and bust cycles of 1997-2000 and 2001- 08 and has been a part of the Indian Start-up ecosystem as an institutional investor in India from 2012 onwards, as a managing partner of Unitus Ventures. “The booms have been great. However, the busts were clearly very hard.” Will has a personal liking for early-stage investing – pre-seed through A – where he is able to provide a ton of value to founders based on his 38 years of experience as a 4 times serial entrepreneur and 2 times corporate leader.
Unitus were among the first to see the potential of “India-2” starting in 2013 as the firm likes to make contrary investments in great entrepreneurs who see around the corner better than others, and knowhow — or can quickly learn how — to build companies with the massive scale needed to be relevant in India. The firm started out multi-sector but narrowed its focus to jobtech, edtech, and SME tech.
I believe we have built the largest portfolio of job tech companies in India; we were able to do that because we saw the opportunity early, got behind excellent founders, and built synergy between portfolio companies.”
Will and Unitus have made about 40 investments in India. He has also invested globally under the Capria brand where he has made another 25 investments in their most recent fund. According to Will, 2021 would count as the best year of VCs in India with approximately 37 unicorns being minted this year alone. He believes that 2022 will be another exciting year for the VCs in India as ‘soonicorns’ continue to grow at a rapid pace. Unitus was the first institutional investor in 5C Network, India’s largest digitaldiagnostic service provider. According to Will, when he first met Kalyan the founding CEO and Kalyan told him his story, he was frankly astounded that nobody else had built a company to do what they do in India. But Kalyan had uncovered a huge opportunity.
Will and his partners made a bet that he could scale nationwide, first with AI-powered digital radiology and then with other digital services. Every step of the way Unitus helped Kalyan think even bigger and further out of the box and supported him with the cash he needed to grow the biz way ahead of other potential entrants. The growth story of 5C Network is one of the best in the recent history of Unitus as Will looks forward to 2022.