It was 15th August 2015 in Srinagar, when 10 Corporate CFOs decided to create a group of like-minded CXO friends to invest and handhold young entrepreneurs in the start-up world so as to convert their dreams into reality. Most ideas remain on paper because of the hurdles faced at every step by founders of new-age businesses. The group’s main objective is to open doors for such start-up founders and ensure that they see their raw ideas turning into commercially successful ventures.
Over time the group has become broad based with nearly 100 CXO members based around the globe and engaged in diverse industries like media, healthcare, manufacturing, FMCG, fintech and banking, eager to share their expertise.
While the primary aim is to help young entrepreneurs, the returns to the members are equally attractive. From learning new age industries and getting a first-hand knowledge of innovation happening every day in the marketplace, there is also an opportunity to multiply wealth and most importantly be part of a strong professional network of members and friends.
Beyond financial support, the members are expected to provide mentorship and help open doors for investee companies by leveraging their personal networks. As a network of individuals, the group can leverage its collective knowledge, contacts and know-how to help these early-stage companies succeed. One or two investee companies out of 10 may realize their potential – but what potential that can be! By increasing the quantity and quality of investment in early-stage opportunities, Vinners is a catalyst in the commercialization of innovation, and helping drive economic development and prosperity.
As of date, VINNERS has invested in around 20 start-ups in last five years with an average group ticket size of approx. Rs 10 Mn. This style
of investment makes it possible for each individual member to be able to invest in many start-ups and remain involved over a period.
Start-up evaluation and investment
The evaluation of the new start-ups is done by VINNERS secretariat and available members, typically twice in a month over zoom or in person on a weekend so as not to intrude in their work time. While it is not compulsory for members to attend these meetings nor is there any compulsion to invest, it is expected that members will attend some meetings in the year, contribute to the deliberations and invest wherever they can so as to realize the value of their presence in the group for the benefit of the start-up eco system in the country.
To remain an active member of VINNERS, the member must invest in at least one investment in a year. It is also expected that members will remain active and participate in start-up evaluation and related due diligence and discussions from time to time. What distinguishes VINNERS from others is the fact that this group has one of the best brains of the industry and effective engagement with start-ups and opening doors for them are valuable contributions we can make as a group.
VINNERS is not a fund nor a company set up for a combined investment as a group. All investments are done in individual names (self or a family member). Once the company is shortlisted and recommended by the secretariat, the members are free to decide whether they wish to invest in that company or not.