Cover image of Pankaj Makkar

Pankaj Makkar

4 Podcast Episodes

Latest 10 Dec 2022 | Updated Daily

Episode artwork

EP#61 Pankaj Makkar – The bull case for India, mental models to identify stellar startups and Bertelsmann’s India investment playbook

The VCpreneur: Startups | Venture Capital | Entrepreneurship | Fundraising

In this episode, Pankaj Makkar (Managing Director, Bertelsmann India Investments), joins our host Digjay, to talk about his path leading up to Bertelsmann, evolution of Bertelsmann’s India investment strategy and why now is a good time to accelerate investments in India, challenges faced in evaluating growth stage startups, mitigating the noise when investing in a ‘hot’ sector, Pankaj’s perspective on the exit landscape in India, mental models to identify stellar startups and more. Bertelsmann India Investments (BII), is a strategic investment arm of the global Bertelsmann Group which has invested more than $1bn in over 250 companies and funds. Established in 2012, BII is a sector agnostic early-to-growth stage fund that has invested in category-defining companies like Eruditus, Licious, Shiprocket, Pepperfry, AgroStar, Vymo among others. The firm also recently closed its new $500mm India fund. Prior to Bertelsmann, Pankaj worked with Mayasian conglomerate - The Usaha Tegas Group and invested in various sectors in India and South East Asia. Pankaj received his MBA from Harvard Business School and holds a B.Comm Hons. from Delhi University. You can connect with Pankaj here on Linkedin / Twitter. ---- Show notes – (01:50) Pankaj’s background & path leading up to Bertelsmann India (03:48) Evolution of Bertelsmann’s India investment strategy (08:25) India bull case - Why now is a good time to accelerate investments in India? (14:07) Challenges faced in evaluating growth stage startups; Assessing binary & non-binary risks (20:11) Mitigating the noise & taking a measured approach when investing in a ‘hot’ sector (24:40) Processing signals from early stage investors (26:25) Portfolio construction strategy at Bertelsmann (30:15) Pankaj’s perspective on exits in India’s startup ecosystem (33:13) Mental models to identify stellar startups; Key outlier founders within Bertelsmann’s portfolio - Eriditus, Licious, Pepperfry, Shiprocket, Agrostar (37:02) How has being a VC influenced Pankaj’s personality over the years? (40:40) Rapid fire and closing remarks ---- If you liked our episode, you can subscribe to our podcast on any podcast platforms of your choice (like Spotify & Apple iTunes). We would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Apple iTunes. This helps others discover the podcast organically. You can visit thevcpreneur.com and follow us on Twitter @thevcpreneur_ & Instagram @thevcpreneur for more episodes and interesting insights on the startup ecosystem. You can also follow our host Digjay here on Linkedin & Twitter


28 Aug 2022

Episode artwork

E16: Pankaj Makkar (Managing Director, Bertelsmann India Investments)

The Desi VC: Indian Venture Capital | Angel Investors | Startups | VC

Pankaj Makkar is the Managing Director, Bertelsmann India Investments, a strategic investment arm of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA in India, focusing on investments in the digital, education, media and services sectors. He’s spent his career at Astro, Univision and has been at Bertelsmann for the last decade. He holds a B.Comm Hons. from Delhi University and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.Bertelsmann India Investments has several startups in its portfolio including Licious, Saavn, Pepperfry, and Quikr.Follow Pankaj (@_pankajmakkar) and host Akash Bhat (@bhatvakash) on Twitter.. . .Glossary of terms:1. Growth stage: Growth stage investment firms invest in well-run, growing businesses with proven business models and solid management teams looking to continue driving the business. Series B and beyond rounds are usually termed as ‘growth stage’.. . .In this episode we will cover:1. Pankaj Makkar’s background: (00:19)2. COVID-19 impact and the current state of work: (1:26)3. How has venture evolved in the last decade: (3:02)4. In this new normal, what are the learning from market perspective and VC Opportunities: (6:07)5. What is nature of conversations right now with portfolio companies: (8:17)6. Thoughts on sectoral thesis for post COVID world: (9:16)7. Evolution and current view of India VC market: (12:21)8. Why is it hard to multiply fund returns: (14:56)9. How do you do diligence for portofolio companies: (17:52)10. What diligence data points and methodology: (18:18)11. For companies already invested in, how do you mitiagte risk: (21:25)12. Investing in growth stage companies for consumer vs enterprise technology companies (25:10)13. Bertselmann’s Fund-of-Fund (FoF) strategy for investing in other funds: (26:48)14. EdTech and the constant disruption in the space: (34:29)15. Rapid-Fire - (40:48)


18 May 2020

Similar People

Episode artwork

Pankaj Makkar, Bertelsmann India Investments, on Investing in Growth Stage Startups

100x Entrepreneur

Pankaj joined Bertelsmann New York in 2009 and later started Bertelsmann Corporate Services India Pvt. Ltd and Bertelsmann India Investments. Bertelsmann India Investments has several popular startups in its portfolio - Licious, Pepperfry, and Quikr among others.In this podcast, Pankaj shares his opinions on how startups can optimize spendings and become more cash efficient in the long run. Notes - 00:40 - Joining Bertelsmann in New York & starting Bertelsmann Corporate Services India02:33 - Thesis behind the diverse portfolio of Bertelsmann India Investments07:02 - Exit from Saavn which is now JioSaavn11:02 - What change can startups expect in consumer behaviour post Covid-19?14:45 - Biggest value addition which Bertelsmann brings to its portfolio companies20:20 - Average ticket size & ideal phase for making an investment at BII21:12 - Personal habits and hobbies which he attributes to his success23:35 - Ability to see far & deep and implementing future prospects within the business26:30 - Investing companies which raise minimum capital and are able to build great businesses28:58 - Identifying companies with high profit margins(Treebo as an example)29:59 - Advice to entrepreneurs to sail through Covid-19 crisis


3 May 2020

Episode artwork

Pankaj Makkar on Building it Up from 10 to 100

Building It Up with Bertelsmann

When an organization grows from 10 to 100, how to scale communication, team & culture along with it? While there’s a lot of knowledge out there on what to do in the early stages of a company, there’s little on taking the next big step such as hiring, product management, funding or raising money, among others. In this episode of Building It Up, Pankaj Makkar- Managing Director of Bertelsmann India Investment, shares insights on this elusive growth journey of a start-up, why some startups shouldn’t raise VC money, boards role, India’s next big tech idea and of course, why he launched this growth-focused podcast.


29 Aug 2018

Most Popular