5ideas’ co-founder Gaurav Kachru took over as CEO of India Today’s e-commerce venture, Bagittoday, two weeks ago, reported Medianama. We spoke to him about the road ahead for 5ideas, as well as his plans for Bagittoday. Edited Excerpts.
What led to the shift from 5ideas to Bagittoday?
When we started 5ideas we had foreseen it to be a cross between an accelerator and a seed fund. Over a year and a half of investing, we realised that the companies that we were investing in don’t require as aggressive engagement as we had initially foreseen. Between Pearl and me we had a spare capacity, and we were envisaging on how to use it there. We also considered upping the number of startups that we invest in, but, we really didn’t feel the compulsion in more than 4-5 companies. This meant our own investment thesis.
The reality is that neither of us had the opportunity to get freed up, and generate more cash to allow us to up our stake in our business. So that’s the whole thought process. The institutionalization of processes at 5ideas lets us do this.
What will your role at 5ideas be currently?
Being a founder, I will continue to be a part-time advisor in my personal capacity. I’m just not a full time employee. It’s not one or the other, it’s one and the other.
What kind of traction is 5ideas seeing currently? Future plans?
50% of the companies that we invested in over the last 12 months have already signed term sheets for funding that is greater than half a millions dollars.
5ideas will continue to invest in 3-4 startups a year. It’s going to be led by Pearl, we’ve put in a fund manager in place, we’re continuing to work on that front. We have expanded the team at 5ideas last month.
Hopefully, in the next 2 weeks we’ll announce our next investment in a Bangalore based technology startup, that works in the second screen space.
What are the future plans for Bagittoday?
Bagittoday is a vast opportunity and was an extremely relevant brand at one point of time. There’s a huge opportunity to turn the brand around today. I’ve had a discussion with the board and they’re trying to see the various opportunities where we can mean something significant to the Indian consumer. By the end of this quarter I will be in a position to say what are the future plans for Bagit, at this point it would be premature to say exactly what.
What kind of e-commerce model will Bagittoday follow?
I don’t think that any retail opportunity will lack a blend of a marketplace. There will definitely be an element of marketplace as well, will it only be a marketplace? No. I think it’s too early to speculate on these aspects.
What kind of traction is Bagittoday seeing?
The traction is still significant, there is no shortage of traction in the business. We have a fairly large number of orders being processed on a daily basis, we’re investing in fresh infrastructure at this point of time. It will be in terms of internal infrastructure, and we’re in the process of implementing those changes.