Dev brings 15 years of experience spanning evenly across entrepreneurship and finance. He is deeply entrenched in the startup and venture capital ecosystem in India.
In 2012, Dev founded MITRA, one of India’s largest AgTech startups. MITRA has become one of the most popular brands building smart machines across horticulture in India. Dev built and led a team of 150 people to sell 4 different patented technologies. In 2018, Mahindra & Mahindra, the largest tractor company in the world, entered into an agreement to acquire MITRA to grow M&M’s horticulture business. He stayed as CEO for a year to facilitate the transition before joining Kalaari.
Prior to starting MITRA, Dev was at Paine Schwartz, a private equity firm in the Bay Area. The firm had a very disciplined and “thesis-led” approach to investing. Dev gained in depth knowledge in a variety of sectors in financial services, consumer, and agribusinesses. Dev started his career with 3 years of investment banking at Citigroup in the US.
Dev believes the culture of a startup is critical to its success and he wants to help portfolio companies build excellent teams at early stages. Also, he is very keen to help identify and nurture talent at Kalaari for the long term.
Dev completed his MBA from INSEAD. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Business Economics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Dev was a competitive tennis player. He beats stress by enjoying a variety of sports and meditation. He loves spending time with his wife and young son.
Portfolio: Instamojo, RKSV, Active Intelligence, Agnext.
Speaking from experience, entrepreneurship is by far the hardest profession in any industry. It tests your tenacity, intelligence, and integrity.
What makes the job exciting
A venture capital job allows me to use my entrepreneurial and investor skill-sets together to help an idea convert into large-scale disruption and employment. It is really exciting to be working with passionate entrepreneurs who are putting all on the line to fulfill their vision. Building discipline in evaluating investment opportunities to match your investment criteria/thesis is a challenge. Venture capital is not an exact science, which makes it all-the-more interesting!
Views on entrepreneurship
Speaking from experience, it is by far the hardest profession in any industry. It tests your tenacity, intelligence, and integrity. Dealing with uncertainty is critical for an entrepreneur. It is important not to look back and keep going from strength to strength. I believe that the Indian startup ecosystem has come of age so there is plenty of support available now for entrepreneurs. However, it is easy to get distracted and steer off-path. I believe venture capital is there to serve entrepreneurs as customers to help them manage this uphill battle.
Thoughts on startup success
Every entrepreneur defines his own metrics for success. For some, reaching significant scale is critical. For some, profitability. For some others, building a great culture. These goals are not mutually exclusive. As an investor, it is very important that all three boxes are checked in the long term for true startup success.
What I like about Kalaari
The team has 10+ years of valuable institutional knowledge in a space where data is hard to come by. Kalaari has a very entrepreneur-friendly approach to investing which I believe can be a real differentiator in this industry. Democratized decision making also helps individuals at Kalaari develop their core investment ability. There are some incredible people here with heaps of experience and knowledge to share.