Where would you put $50 million in the next 5 years?

Lets play Venture Capitalist for a day shall we?

Assuming a 5 year investment horizon starting in 2013 in 50 startups and a total of $50 million, what areas (technology categories) would you put money in to get the best return by 2018?

Some rules:

1.ย You have to put the same amount of money in each company and it cannot exceed $1 Million.

2. You have to put all the money in technology companies alone.

3. You can get “exits” before 2022, but your entire portfolio will be liquidated on Dec 2022 (10 year fund).

A partial list of categories for you to consider. You can put 100% in one or spread them around, or ignore a few categories as you wish.

1. Consumer Internet

2. Mobile applications

3. SaaS applications

4. Cloud infrastructure software

5. Gaming

6. eCommerce

7. Robotics

8. 3D printing

9. Social Networking

10. Storage software

11. Networking (like Cisco, Juniper, etc.)

12. Data Center technology

13. Education technology

14. Healthcare technology

15. Big data

Any other category I missed.

Why I am putting this together?

I will be putting together our investment thesis and our mix of companies so I’d love to crowd source some of the thinking behind startup investing.

If you think its better to do a form or a survey type web page, let me know, else just give me your spread and mix in the comments.

13 thoughts on “Where would you put $50 million in the next 5 years?”

  1. I would put money into tech enabled rural distribution of all products in India, alternate energy fuels, IP based tech communication software / platforms – B2B / Enterprise, SMB automation, Data compression software, Cloud Security, to name a few.. Also e-Self Governance facilitating and storing access to individual documents needed on a regular basis, software and systems that focus on streamlining documentation processes and repetitive usage of primary ID proof dox.


  2. I come from B2B background. I would look for opportunities that are disrupted from traditional install base options, that are moving to cloud – pretty much the whole ecosystem of services around it.

    Invest 50% of the money initially in these.

    1. Infrastructure – storage, data center – 30% – Fewer companies but more money in each.

    2. Service infrastructure / platforms – platform services, billing & associated services (wink! wink!), analytics (verticalized & serving niches), mobile, engagement – 30% – $1m in each.

    3. Big Data, eCommerce, Education & HealthCare – 30%

    4. Gaming, Consumer Internet – 10%. (simply because, well, you need to diversify!). ๐Ÿ™‚

    Invest the other 50% of money on the winners in subsequent round. That would be just me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Big data. Big potential. Barely scratched the applications of it in India.
    Healthcare. Big potential.
    Big data IN healthcare?

    3D printing – will create new avenues for a lot of industries. And kill off a few more.

  4. Presuming that these investments are meant for India, if so – I would put money in these following sectors

    High Risk

    a) A payment exchange for India replacing Visa / Master card run privately with significantly better fraud system. $1m seed is good to start

    b) A mobile payments system like Square

    c) ร“nline Video platforms – Youtubes audience is bigger than MTV and this is going to grow. No one is going to be able to break that position but there is plenty of room for Netflix like services. Fun fact theatres in India and abroad stream media from Internet servers to avoid piracy (see Real Image which is based in Alwarpet)

    d) Cable Competitor – Set-top box + internet + streaming service in one – similar to C …but better packaged to get the consumer awesome content delivered just like netflix does.

    e) Casual gaming companies that target new generation devices and sensors

    f) Internet of things based services (not just hardware itself) – could be a home security service, it could be office boy tracking via GPS (where did this guy disappear??), vehicle tracking or all in one as @Senthil Nayagam has been talking about. I think if we could reduce the cost of acquisition of hardware or package it into a 2 year service based contract, there will be a large uptake.

    g) Drones, military hardware, unmanned UAVs, electric vehicles – I think these are multi-billion dollar industries waiting to happen in India, of course as and when the government decides to open up contracts to actual entrepreneurs instead of their own cronies.

    Immediate opportunities with lower risk

    a) Lots of mobile app companies..there is still room for innovation as new platforms are emerging every 2-3 years.

    b) B2B SAAS Companies – As more more and more services are coming to the cloud, SAAS companies offering services to other businesses have a lot of room for growth.

    c) Collaborative consumption based services

    d) An online payment service like stripe.com that just works

    e) Advertising Platforms – Measurement, DSPs etc – Why, there is plenty of opportunity for massive growth

    g) New media organizations like Huffingtonpost or platforms like Flipboard..

  5. I am not a Techi per se..but from a business perspective and potential high return perspective… i can say all this….
    Investing $1 mn each in follwoing categories

    1. Healthcare tech – 7 companies (7*1mn)
    2.Education technology – 7 cos
    3. COnsudemr internet – 7 cos
    4.Mobile applications – 4 cos
    5.Cloude infrastructure software -4 cos
    6. Big data – 4 cos
    7. Robotics – 4 cos
    8.Saas Application – 3 cos
    9 ecommerce – 3 cos
    10.storage software – 3 cos
    11. data centre tech – 2 cos
    12. 3d printing – 2 cos

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