E65: Arjun Rao (Partner, Speciale Invest)

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Arjun Rao is a Partner at Speciale Invest, one of India’s leading deep-tech focused funds. He has spent over 15 years in the technology and Internet start-up ecosystem in India. He started his career with Yahoo! and later joined Ibibo as Product Manager. The entrepreneurial bug led him to start an edutech startup and also a travel tech startup, Travelyaari. He has led tech and product teams, and strategy and fundraising at all phases of a start-up lifecycle. At Travelyaari, he built the company to achieve revenues of $40mn, and raised $12mn in seed, Series A and Series B funding. Arjun’s experience spans product development, product management, and digital marketing at growth-stage companies.

Arjun has a Bachelors in Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Suratkal and an MBA from the Indian School of Business.

In this episode we will cover:

1. Looking back at the year from a deep tech perspective (4:05)

2. Learnings from running the first and raising the second fund (18:50)

3. Putting the deep tech thesis to test (33:10)

4. Personas of LPs interested in deep tech within India (41:25)

5. Sectors within deep tech that excite Arjun (50:39)

6. Value add of angels and global mega funds within the deep tech space in India (1:05:32)

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