VCs to founders: Another dozen join the exodus


The former VCs — now known as VCpreneurs — said starting up became an option since professional growth in the venture capital industry is confined to "hierarchical structures".



A fresh set of about a dozen venture capitalists in the junior to mid levels has left prominent funds including SAIF Partners, Accel, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital over the last 18 months to establish their own businesses, a continuation of a trend last witnessed in the funding boom of 2015, according to data compiled by ET. Accel, an early backer of homegrown ecommerce firm Flipkart and food delivery app Swiggy, estimates that 90% of those who stepped down from the fund ended up starting their own companies. SAIF has seen at least six team members take a plunge into entrepreneurship since 2018. Entrepreneurs told ET that the move represented a big change in their career trajectory — from being a venture capitalist, which is considered a relatively passive profession compared to an operating role building businesses.


The former VCs — now known as VCpreneurs — said starting up became an option since professional growth in the venture capital industry is confined to “hierarchical structures”. “Accepting this culture and being cognisant of the fact that getting to the partner path is long and uncertain isn't motivating for all,” said a founder who quit his VC stint to start up.


"The timeline to understand if you are good investor is also relatively long," he said. At an investment fund, General Partners are the top decision makers. As a result, a stint at venture capital firms comes with a shelf life and expiry date for most executives. “VC is a great place to study businesses, however…some learnings are by experience and one cannot understand them without executing," said Shashank P S, CEO, CasaOne, who was earlier an investment professional at Bessemer Venture Partners. Harmin Shah joined SAIF Partners in 2016 knowing fully well he would not stay too long in the venture capital industry. Shah had just sold his company HandyHome to UrbanClap. He was taking on the VC role only to understand markets and companies better. “Both (SAIF and I) ultimately knew I’d start up again. SAIF was like an apprentic