E50: Raja Ganapathy (Founding Partner, Spring Marketing Capital)


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Raja Ganapathy is the Founding Partner at Spring Marketing Capital, a skin-in-the-game marketing capital firm with investments in companies such as Byju, CureFit, WakeFit, Practo, 1mg among several others.

Raja has worked with founders for most of his working life of 24+ years. First with Ogilvy and Brand David, where he worked with founders including Muruga of Bharat Matrimony and Siddhartha Lal of Royal Enfield. His defining stint was with Sequoia India, where as CMO, Raja worked with founders from different stages – Byju Raveendran (Byju’s Learning App), Vikram Chopra (CARS24), Amrish and Jitendra (Citrus Pay), Virendra Gupta (Daily Hunt), Jaydeep Burman (Faaso’s), Kunal Shah (Freecharge), Sameer Maheshwari (Healthkart), Amit Kumat (Prataap Snacks), Alan and Nami (Truecaller).

The founders he worked with at Sequoia brought a variety of diverse opportunities and challenges to the table and helped Raja decide what he wanted to do with the rest of his life – work closely with founders and founding teams. His raison d’être is to look at business challenges through the lens of marketing with a skin-in-the-game, long term approach to help build the brands of tomorrow. And that’s exactly what he seeks to do at Spring. Raja is an eternal optimist and believes strongly that creativity and entrepreneurship can change the world. He is thrilled that Spring has an opportunity to work with founders who hate the status quo, believe in positive impact and are never satisfied with the past

In this episode we will cover:

1. Insights from the pandemic (3:14)

2. How did fundraising differ during the first fund vs the second, which was set largely during the pandemic months (7:00)

3. Selecting LPs: What is the right strategy as a fund manager (13:51)

4. What’s motivating Spring’s LPs to join them beyond return of capital? (18:01)

5. How did Spring’s thesis come into being? (25:41)

6. Challenges that come with Spring’s thesis (32:10)

7. Where are founders in their ‘brand journey’ when they come in contact with Spring? (41:28)

8. What don’t founders understand about branding? (46:40)

9. How and why are celebrities thinking about venture capital? (50:55)

10. Why aren’t Indian celebrities more impact / value driven? (53:10)

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