I have stopped doing new startup deals, says Nandan Nilekani; calls keeping pace with innovation tough for govt

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Published: July 27, 2019 5:13:11 PM

Infosys's co-founder Nandan Nilekani has backed companies Tracxn, RailYatri, ShopX, Power2SME, Ninjacart, Fortigo etc., and had set-up a venture capital fund called Fundamentum in 2017 along with Helion Ventures co-founder Sanjeev Aggarwal.

Nandan Nilekani has made 13 investments in Indian startup ecosystem.

Infosys co-founder and former UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani, who has made 13 investments in Indian startup ecosystem (as per deals tracker Crunchbase) and is among the well-known angel investors, told ET Now that he has stopped making new individual investments. “I am not such an active investor. I do have a few investments but I have stopped doing new investments. I don’t generally invest in areas where I am doing work policy-wise because I don’t want any issues,” he said.

Nilekani has backed companies Tracxn, RailYatri, ShopX, Power2SME, Ninjacart, Fortigo etc., and had set-up a venture capital fund called Fundamentum in 2017 along with Helion Ventures co-founder Sanjeev Aggarwal. TravelTriangle and PharmEasy are two startups backed by the fund. The latter was the last investment he made via Fundamentum, as per Crunchbase, in September last year.

He stressed that with the pace at which innovation happens around the world, it is “very difficult for the government and the regulator to keep pace with that, it is just the nature of the beast,” Nandan Nilekani said with respect to the issue of data localisation in India and regulations surrounding localisation of payment data. “India is both doing technology innovation and enabling legal infrastructure around this technology. This (data localisation) is a global issue as sometimes innovation goes ahead of technology, law and so on,” he added.

While technology and innovation are going back and forth but India will have a far better regime of both of them to deal with the modern issue of these things, Nandan Nilekani added. The government has asked the RBI, as reported by PTI last week, to look at concerns around its data localisation rules that mandates domestic storage of customer data without creating mirror sites overseas. 

Through a circular in April 2018, RBI had asked for “data relating to payment systems” to be “stored in a system only in India” within six months. “RBI has taken a view that as India has more and more digital payments, having uninterrupted digital payments is vital,” Nandan Nilekani said.

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