Saif Partners, which has been one of the most active VC firms in India, when it comes to capital-intensive mid-stage rounds, has appointed Alok Goel, former chief executive officer of FreeCharge and Chief Operating Officer of RedBus as its Managing Director.

At SAIF Partners, Alok Goel will look after the early stage investments of the firm which has about $4 billion of assets under management. He will focus on companies that are building solutions in areas such as mobile and software as a service (SaaS), reports ET.

This is yet another recruitment of a senior executive by SAIF for India focused investments to bring deeper understanding and knowledge of the domain. Earlier, SAIF raised about $350 million in India-focused funds.

Competition is increasing in the Indian startup scenario and the investment firms are now looking to invest in companies at an early stage. To learn and close deals quickly, the firms are now hiring senior executives with operational experience.

Alok Goel worked as CPO of RedBus, which was acquired by Naspers in 2013 for about $110 million. Then, he worked as a CEO of FreeCharge until it was acquired by Snapdeal for over $400 million earlier this year.

Before RedBus, he worked at Google for five years in various roles including product management of Google Display Network. In March 2015, Alok was named in Fortune India’s prestigious ’40 Under 40’ List.

Alok Goel, said,

Prior experience helps in understanding the business and the space quickly and allows us to respond quickly to the entrepreneur. Last thing they want is a VC spending a month to learn the industry at their expense and then letting them know that they are not interested.

Beyond a point of time, money becomes a commodity and people with operations background can be helpful as investors look to differentiate.

Ravi Adusumalli, managing partner at Saif Partners, said,

We are thrilled to have Alok on board. He brings a wealth of experience in business strategy, product, marketing, operations as well as P&L management. Having built and scaled successful internet companies, his experience will be very vital to our firm.

Saif Partners is behind many notable Indian startups, including the likes of PayTM, Just Dial, BookMyShow, Toppr, Zovi, First Cry, PropTiger, ixigo, etc.


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