It’s empathy and credibility that Alok Mittal brings to the table while dealing with entrepreneurs and start-ups as managing director, Canaan India. Prior to joining the venture capital industry, Mittal co-founded JobsAhead.com, a Web-based recruitment business, which was later acquired by Monster.com. “Being an entrepreneur helps in appreciating how he (entrepreneur) is thinking, how we fit in his scheme of things, and the best way to coach and advise. And, as the entrepreneur knows that you have run a business before, he trusts you to add value to his business,” says Mittal. At Canaan India since 2006, Mittal has advised Canaan Partners in their investment in Bharat Matrimony, iYogi, Cellcast, UnitedLex, Chakpak and MotorExchange. At home at Canaan, Mittal says he has no intentions of floating his own fund right now, “This is my own fund; I am a partner. I like the global platform, and driving value for entrepreneurs and investors.”
So how was the transition from being an entrepreneur to funding entrepreneurs? “What changes here is that you are not building your own business, and it’s very important to be comfortable with that idea.
At the same time, you get an opportunity to participate in multiple businesses, so the challenges you face are all different, even though you are all in the same entrepreneurial space. One meets new entrepreneurs bubbling with new ideas and energy, which is very energising. We like the fact that entrepreneurial aspirations in India are high. Entrepreneurs are not saying they want to create a