After four-and-a-quarter years, Pankaj Jain
has moved out of being a partner for 500 Startups, where he continues in an advisory role for now. Pankaj, who divided his time between the US and India, handled the India portfolio for the iconic early stage seed fund and accelerator.
That responsibility has passed to Shalini Prakash, who’s been part of the 500 Startups
investment team in India for a year and a half. Earlier, she had a series of stints with other accelerators as well as Ink Talks, a TED-inspired program.
She’ll now take care of the India portfolio and contribute to investment strategy going forward.
She’s keen to build bridges between India and Southeast Asian countries. “I want to see how best we can enable cross-border connections, such as exploring new markets like Indonesia and Malaysia for our portfolio companies
in India,” she says. “I want to build that network stronger.”
moving out of 500 Startups
is also related to plans for two India-focused funds – Kulfis and Startupwallah – being put on hold. Pankaj was heading 500 Startups
Kulfis for India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
This has been characterised in some India media as 500 Startups
“putting India on hold.” Shalini says that’s a misinterpretation because 500 Startups
will continue to invest in India from its global funds and build up its portfolio start-ups. It has no second thoughts about the future potential of India, where 500 Startups
has made around 60 investments. The mechanics of setting up an India fund may take time to work out, but that doesn’t put the investment activity on hold, she points out.
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here.