COVID-19: Implications for VC Investment
Neeraj Vohra is the Chief Investment Officer of Naples Technology Venture and has 25 years of strategic financial management and capital markets experience. Prior to joining NTV, he was the CFO of Rose Financial Solution, a finance-as-a-service company, where he partnered with the CEO to drive growth and closed and acquisition within 90 days of joining the firm. He has also worked as a CFO of DuckerFrontier, market intelligence and consulting firm that serves clients across the B2B, healthcare, consumer, and technology sectors.
Neeraj's deep investment banking experience includes leading teams in financial technology and technology services at Friedman Billing Ramsey in DC and Signal Hill in Baltimore. He has managed numerous initial public offerings, follow-on equity offerings, and merge & acquisition transactions for a wide range of clients, including CFRA, Online Resources, Open solution, PayPal, and many more.
In an interview with StartupCity Magazine, Neeraj Vohra, Chief Investment Officer, Naples Technology Venture, discusses the trends in the venture capital market due to the pandemic.
How do you identify promising technologies and investment avenues as a venture capitalist?
One of the most important things that successful venture capitalists do is stay updated on the market trends and constantly educate themselves about new technologies and companies to broaden their net.
One of the most important things that successful venture capitalists do is stay updated on the market trends and constantly educate themselves about new technologies and companies to broaden their net
Usually, companies aiming to solve a problem don't come with just a single innovative technology for becoming more efficient or fighting market competition. They have a solution set. We at NTV invest in companies like this. When we look at companies to invest in, we ensure these are companies that customers are interested in because the offerings can help them with three or more different things. In 2021, we met with 645 companies but ended up investing in only eight of them. That's what our sales funnel looks like and the companies we end up investing in.
How has the pandemic impacted the market landscape?
During the first half of the pandemic, people experienced considerable uncertainty and fear as a result of the commercial standstill. However, in the latter part, in response to the circumstances, there was a flurry of innovation—even within the venture community.
Previously, only a few venture capitalists would agree to invest in a company remotely. But Covid forced everyone to hold meetings online as no one wanted to travel or be in an office where there was a higher risk of getting sick. But surprisingly enough, this enabled us to meet with 645 companies remotely, which would not have been possible otherwise. We were able to close on investments remotely, with greater efficiency, which has had a big impact on the business.
Another huge Covid-induced shift has been the accelerated digitization—which is still in progress. So over the next decade, there will be an increase in innovation. Moreover, there is currently a decent amount of capital looking for good investment opportunities. This will further propel the inflow of more investment ideas.
What would be your piece of advice for the budding VCs in the industry?
To be a successful venture capitalist, you should have the intellectual curiosity to keep learning about new technologies and about the problems that are being solved. Having the drive to learn more about what makes you successful is also important. And there is no clear or easy answer to any of these. The more receptive you are to learning and conversing with others, the more willing you will be to help companies grow and develop. I believe these are some of the key ingredients for becoming successful.