Guest post: Why did Lightspeed take AskLaila bet?

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[Subodh is a veteran entrepreneur and is CEO/Founder of YouMagix, a startup working on user-generated listing service. A passionate entrepreneur, Subodh will discuss VC/funding related aspect of starting up in India.]

Why did Lightspeed take AskLaila bet?

Ever since I heard the news of LightSpeed led $10 million investment in AskLaila, I have been scratching my head and searching for answers. For starters, AskLaila (review) is a purely India focused local yellowpage website with an added layer of basic value added services such as user reviews.
How much ever I may wish to laugh away this investment as one of the 90% VC investments that go down the drain, the reality is that nobody, especially hardened breed known as venture capitalist, invests $10million without a clear glimpse of potential high payoff.

Here is a clue, when we look at Indian Market there are two clear realities that strike an aware mind

  1. One one hand, we see a growing economy, that clearly has a potential to be one of the largest in the world in next couple of decades. With a vibrant economy comes phenomenal consumption demand that can raise many billion dollar companies in basic customer facing services alone.
  2. On the other hand, we have an utterly underdeveloped consumer services infrastructure. A casual visitor from western world can clearly appreciate that India lacks basic services that everybody in the West takes for granted.

Now you start to see some method in the investment madness across sectors in India. We are talking about basic consumer facing infrastructure that can deliver reliable services day in and day out, which does not exist in India today.
When it comes to basic infrastructure, It may take a lot of investment & efforts to build something that works, but successful players will have the last laugh.

Three cheers for hundreds of AskLailas, Lightspeed Ventures, entrepreneurs and investors who have decided to take a plunge.

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