Manish Gupta on Investing in Resolver
We sat down our Founder, Manish Gupta to know what really goes on in an investor’s mind and what is it that they are looking for when they choose to fund a business idea.
Today, we specifically talked about Resolver India, a consumer redressal platform where people can post their queries and complaints across a variety of sectors ranging from retail to travel and telecom. This platform helps consumers reach out to companies and ombudsman (if needed) to find a resolution to the customer’s problems. Manish Gupta has been an investor on-board Resolver since 2017.
Here is the conversation that followed:
Q1. How did you first meet Himanshu and Pratyush?
A1. Himanshu and Pratyush were introduced to me back in 2017 when they applied to our second cohort of the Acceleration Program at UIncept. This was when they were looking for seed funding for their startup and just had an idea of a complaint resolution online platform. Initially, they were an aggregation platform for lawyers.
Q2. What got you to work with them and support them in their initial days?
A2. I am fully aware of what goes on when you try to file a legal complaint. Lawyers and companies give people runarounds and the fees associated with seeking resolution can be very high. What they wanted to build was an aggregation of lawyers on an electronic platform where they charged the minimum possible fee and provided the best possible resolution. Their idea and plan of execution were in place and it looked right to me.
They evolved over time from an aggregator for lawyers to become a one-stop solution for getting redressal for your complaints. The company works closely with the aggrieved to get them a resolution by following up directly with the clients.
Q3. What do you look for while investing in an individual and a team?
A3. There are two things that I look for while investing in people or teams.
The first is that their idea should solve actual customer problems, and not just be whipped out of thin air.
It should be well-researched and have its statistics in place. If it’s a new concept or a problem that has not been addressed, the market should be well-defined. If there are existing players, how can these teams provide the service cheaper, more efficiently, or of better quality?
The second thing is the team/individual’s competency. How capable are they to actually execute their plan of action and how well can they perform under uncertain situations.
Q4. How do you think like an investor, your approach is different than just investing funds?
A4. Whenever I invest in an idea and a team, I think of creating a long-term relationship with them. My idea of a partnership is through thick and thin and even beyond professional relationships.
Even when companies exit and buyback, if they decide to come back to me after a few years, I will still support them. I don’t see that happening very often with other investors who end up looking for an exit if the companies are not in the green.
Q5. What is your bigger vision for the startup ecosystem?
A5. I think the startup ecosystem should be able to provide all players with the right guidance, mentorship, availability of funds, and networking opportunities. Especially in the early stages of entrepreneurship, it is very important for founders and teams to get the right grooming and exposure; and I think the modern startup ecosystem should focus on that.
Q6. Any suggestions you'd want to give to the startup entrepreneurs?
A6. I would strongly advise all founders to do their own personal SWOT analysis and understand their own strengths and weaknesses. Because before becoming a business, you are a human. And when you know your strong and weak spots, you can play to your strengths and delegate work that’s in the sphere of your weakness. It can help you understand how you are as a leader, as a founder, and as a person.
The other thing that I would say is that if your idea is great, funding will be easy. Focus on your core product and not the romanticised idea of starting up.
Q7. How do you think resolver is solving a bigger problem?
A7. Resolver India is trying to solve real consumer problems in a much faster and efficient manner. Consumer problems are a key area where businesses lag behind in terms of turnaround time, response, and even redressal. Resolver’s aim is to reduce this time, help companies understand the importance of this redressal and help customers and consumers get their voices heard.
Manish Gupta is the founder of UIncept, one of India’s leading Incubators and Accelerators. He is also the founder and chairman of JIMS and has over 25 years of experience in Management-Education. With a strong inclination to help startups build customer-centric, solution-driven businesses, Manish Gupta invests in ideas in the tech space that are out to change the world.