Narendra Gupta (born 1948) is one of India’s highest profile venture capital investors, and is the founder of investment company Nexus Venture Partners, as well as various investment and software firms. He was also CEO and President of Integrated Systems Inc. (ISI) for a decade and a half.
Nexus Venture Partners
In 2007, Gupta founded Nexus Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley investment firm. This is a “homegrown Indian operation [with] extensive reach and experience overseas [most notably in] Silicon Valley.” It has made investments in a variety of technical and media startups around India and the United States. It boasts more than $1bn under management with an active portfolio of 60+ firms throughout the following industries: business services, consumer, healthcare, internet and technology.
Gupta – via Nexus – has made investments in several developers' products including HyperTrack, H2O, and Postman. He has also made "unique cloud investments” in Aryaka, DimDim, Druva, mCheck, PubMatic and Snapdeal. These companies share a similar trait, that they were developed by entrepreneurs from India but serve international markets.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Gupta said that, within a few years, India would be building “billion-dollar startups.” He said that the traditional approach to investment used in Silicon Valley is not really accepted in India. He sees a great deal of “untapped potential” in software industries like cloud computing and mobile apps. Yet there are “special challenges” for those investing in India. Gupta expanded: “Certainly fast-growing startups need more hand-holding than they need in the U.S. While we have quite a bit of technology talent in India, we don’t have leadership and marketing talent.” Plus, there is often a push from Indian entrepreneurs to sell early than they should, rather than waiting to develop a “billion dollar enterprise over many years.”
Through Nexus, Gupta has developed a greater sense of how to work within Indian culture. He said that, “most investors in the U.S. won’t understand how family-run businesses in India run.” Basically, Indian entrepreneurs have to get with the program in order to understand “what tickles the fancy of consumers,” since there has not been one independent firm that has emerged as a key player here, which Gupta says “makes no sense. Korea has done that, Japan has, China has, but not India.”
Regarding Indian e-commerce, Gupta said that this recently exploded. He explained that “every investor wanted to be an e-commerce investor – valuations were doubling every month. It was completely ridiculous.” Now that euphoria has dissipated.
When speaking of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gupta was quoted as saying “Innovation is a state of mind, and he is saying, help him bring that state of mind to India. Big changes are pretty much impossible to make. What you need to do in a democracy is take a thousand little steps.”
Gupta was a co-founder, CEO and President of Integrated Systems Inc. (ISI) for a decade-and-a-half. In 1990, he took it public, then merging it with Wind River Systems. He remained on that board until it was acquired by Intel. He boasts more than two decades of experience in the field of early and early-growth stage investment in both America and India.
Gupta is chairman of the board at Red Hat, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology and the Asia Society of Northern California. He also sits on a variety of privately held companies.
Awards and recognition
Gupta was the recipient of the President’s Gold Medal from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi as well. He was elected Fellow of the IEEE and received distinguished alumni awards from IIT and Caltech.
- Dorbian, Iris. "Nexus Venture Partners closes fourth fund at over $450 mln". PeHub Network. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- Mitra, Sramana. "Roundtable Recap: October 9 – Carnival in the Cloud with Naren Gupta, Nexus Venture Partners". One Million by One Million. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- Sharma, Amol. "A Chat With Nexus Venture's Naren Gupta". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- Goel, Vindu. "Narendra Modi, Indian Premier, Courts Silicon Valley to Try to Ease Nation's Poverty". New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- "Naren Gupta: Silicon Valley". Nexus Venture Partners. Retrieved 28 February 2016.