Anirudh Damani

Anirudh Damani Managing Partner at Artha Venture Fund

Anirudh has been an angel investor in India since 2011, prior to which he was an entrepreneur in the energy sector in the US and in India. Some of the key winners in his portfolio include Oyo Rooms, NowFloats, Exotel, Tala, Purplle, Coutloot and LenDenClub.

Anirudh a.k.a aD began his professional journey as a door to door salesman in the arid climatic region of West Texas, where he would go knocking on 80-100 doors per day, convincing home owners to switch their electricity provider. His natural penchant for sales coupled with the ability to recruit, train and motivate others led to his quick rise in the ranks of the company.

His direct efforts in successfully setting up the B2B sales division, brought the company a nationwide sales contract with Suez Energy (now called Engie), the world’s largest utility provider with over $180 billion in assets in 2006. After his promotion to the Director of Sales, Anirudh played a crucial role in expanding the company to Chicago, New York, Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, Midland etc. He successfully led a nationwide sales force of over 500 agents.

During the Great Recession, a conflux of reasons led Anirudh’s employer to the brink of filing for bankruptcy. He and two of his colleagues, took over the debt-ridden company and rechristened it as Pioneer Energy Resources. In just under 2 years, not only did they make it profitable but also cleared all the debts of their former employer.
In 2012, Anirudh left Texas and PER to return to his home base in Mumbai. His previous experience in the energy sector and the scope of renewable energy assets to deliver long term stable cash-flows drove his decision to buy a windmill. He deployed the cash-flows from this windmill into early stage start-ups.

Anirudh strongly believes that investing in start-ups at an early stage creates the maximum impact in their lifecycle. He aims to drive growth by mentoring decisions that involve sales, marketing, recruiting, finance and operations. He works closely with founders to help them develop prototypes, find their first customer, decipher unit economics, recruit the second line of management and prepare the company for rapid scaling up. He is a part of a vast network of global mentors & advisors that he ropes in to provide connections, support and guidance to the founders in his portfolio.

Anirudh’s unique funding strategy helped him create an impressive portfolio of over 50 start- ups that are almost completely funded by a renewable energy asset in Rajasthan. His knack for picking winners is evident from the 3.5x multiple that his portfolio has delivered so far and the tremendous success that his fundraising efforts have generated for Artha Venture Fund.

Anirudh’s Investment Philosophy:

  • Invest early
  • Deploy funding in tranches – Don’t throw good money behind money that is lost
  • Invest in execution over idea
  • Control the burn until the start-up has a clear plan to achieve positive unit economics