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Sashi Reddi to invest Rs 100 cr in start-ups

K Rajani Kanth  |  Chennai/ Hyderabad 

After treading a long path of serial entrepreneurship, Sashi Reddi, who made a fortune by selling his independent software testing company (reportedly for Rs 1,200 crore) to $16-billion (CSC) in September 2011, is now seriously looking at seizing initial funding opportunities in start-up companies, especially in the area of technology.

“I have been investing in start-ups through my seed-stage venture capital fund — — since the last four years. Now, I am planning to do it in a pretty active pace. The idea is to invest Rs 100 crore in at least 15 start-ups, both in India and the US, in the next three years,” he told Business Standard.

Reddi, through SRI Capital, had so far invested Rs 25 crore in nine start-ups, including six post the acquisition of by CSC. These include Shopo.in, a Chennai-based e-commerce portal for handicrafts, Mumbai-based GIBSS, which focuses on making ‘buildings zero net energy’ and Edutor Technologies, a Hyderabad-based technology company serving the education market, and Thinkci.com, Identropy and Koncierge MB in the US.

“I personally enjoy meeting smart people who want to launch their own new business ventures. Besides, it (early-stage funding) provides an opportunity to get significant returns. The objective is to bridge the gap between friends and family, and venture capitals. I plan to invest Rs 1 crore each in Indian start-ups and $500,000 in US ventures, typically with a holding period of six-seven years,” Reddi said.

In his over-a-decade serial entrepreneurial journey, Reddi has seen both success and failures. While his maiden venture EZPower Systems, a web content management company, was acquired by DocuCorp for $12 million in 1998, and eventually by Oracle, his second project iCoop, a group purchasing dotcom, was shut down. His third venture, FXLabs, was sold to US-based game development major Foundation9 Entertainment for stock.

“Technology is what I understand the best. I am looking at anything mobile to invest. I am also excited about enterprise SaaS (software-as-a-service),” he said.

As per the terms of the agreement with CSC, Reddi is now helping the former in the transition of AppLabs, and is heading its 6,500-people-strong independent testing division in Hyderabad.

“It (integration) takes another three months to complete, post which I can stay in CSC... if I want to. I have to decide after three months. I might also look at starting my fifth venture,” Reddi said, while declining to comment further.

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