At Unitus Ventures, we’ve been investing since 2013 and we believe it is a little early for us to call out an anti-portfolio. This is so because our current measure of whether a company we passed on investing is successful or not is only based on the company raising multiple rounds of funding. The sanest voices in the entrepreneur world will tell you that a company raising a round or two of large funding cannot be equated with success.
An indisputable measure of success for us is when the entrepreneurs we back build scaled profitable businesses that aren’t just making crores of rupees for everyone but also impacting several millions of lives. With each investment we spent time evaluating, irrespective of whether the company makes it to our anti-portfolio or otherwise, we learn and adjust our assumptions. This learning feeds into our thesis on timing, market size, sectors/sub-sectors, and impact in similar businesses we may see in the future.
That said, there are a few start-ups we evaluated closely but ultimately did not invest. One of them is Affordplan, the healthcare financing platform.
Affordplan is innovating at the intersection of fintech and healthcare, both core areas of our investment focus. We loved the team – strong operators with previous experience of building and scaling a people heavy business successfully. However, we had questions about customer adoption. At the time when we evaluated the company (2015) they were yet to launch the product and had very little early feedback data from potential customers.
While we had a strong belief that digitally enabled goal-based savings products that work towards predefined critical objectives will succeed in India, there was not much evidence of such products, barring of course gold savings, especially in the mass consumer segment that we care about.
Indians are not very preventative in their healthcare outlook and we questioned the motivation of the BoP to save particularly for non-emergency healthcare procedures.
Affordplan has gone on to raise $12M in funding over three rounds and is scaling well. While we are unsure of the extent of focus on the lower income segment in their current form, it is great they proved that our thesis about savings products is correct. More power to them as they grow the platform further and make healthcare affordable to the millions who matter.
We’d love for each of the companies that we have passed on investing to succeed and become blockbusters which is when we’ll be sure to put them in our anti-portfolio and maybe share some humorous stories about how we passed on these companies. We keep in touch with the founders and track the progress of these companies. This serves as a great way for us to introspect on whether we were right in our decision to not invest and whether the assumptions we made were right or not.
This article was originally published on Livemint >