Shanti Mohan

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Finalist 2015 for Asia-Pacific

Shanti Mohan

LetsVenture, INDIA
Connects start-ups with investors and helps them raise money via an online platform.
Having launched her first start-up in the late 1990s, Shanti Mohan was well aware of the difficulties entrepreneurs encounter raising funds. In 2013, she decided to create LetsVenture, a website that aims to make fundraising easier.
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Time consuming process
In India – the world’s third largest start-up ecosystem – financing a new company can be difficult and time consuming. Entrepreneurs that are not connected to potential investors within their own network struggle to raise funds. “I realised that, for the entrepreneurs, it was about who they knew rather than what they knew and it was very hard to find the right investor for the start-up.” Until recently, linking start-up founders and investors was an offline rather than an online process.
“We’ve brought down the timeline for funding from 4-6 months to about 6-8 weeks through LetsVenture.”
15 years of experience
The idea of LetsVenture came from a personal challenge Shanti faced when she tried to raise seed funding for her first start-up venture in 1998. After 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, she decided to launch her second company LetsVenture once she discovered that the fund-raising process had not changed. “Back in 2013, for a start up to raise money it would take anywhere from 5-6 months after meeting about 15 investors offline.” To date, LetsVenture has grown to 16 employees and has offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.
“India has changed a lot. Today if you look at the generation which is emerging, we don’t distinguish between a son and a daughter. We aspire as much for our daughters as for our sons, but that is a small part of the society that is educated. There is a large part of India that is not seeing that and there is a lot to be done in society for women.”
Facilitating contact
The website letsventure.com connects start-up founders with global angel investors and venture capital financing. Entrepreneurs can create a profile for free and connect to investors online. If founders are unable to find what they are looking for, Shanti’s team will curate the information, search for adequate investors and eventually make the necessary introductions. About 4,500 start-ups and 1,000 investors from 19 countries are registered on the platform. “We’ve directly impacted about 35 start-ups who have raised funding on the platform but we have also created an indirect impact because once a start-up raises funding, they go ahead and employ more people. It’s about impacting an ecosystem rather than about the number of people.”