On June 18th, Infostrux CEO, Goran Kimovski (Kima) sat down with S. Somasegar (Soma) to discuss Soma’s experience and lessons as a board member and early investor in Snowflake. Kima and Soma discuss the concept and value of the data cloud and why data exchange will be as important as data warehousing. As an active angel investor and seed investor, Soma describes what makes a great investment and what he looks for while investing in both enterprise and consumer segments.
Kima: Every investor is proud of the investment they made that worked out. Are you able to share some investment you didn’t make that you regret because you missed out on a good opportunity?
Soma: I bucket the world of start-up investments into three categories:
- Invested, and happy
- Invested, but regretted
- Didn’t invest, and regretted
Every venture capitalist goes through this. Having said that, there are two things that happen here: sometimes we get a chance to invest in a company, or we don’t invest and the company just continues to run and we are never able to get into it.
There are also companies where we decide not to invest, but then we suddenly wake up a year or two later and decide there was a mistake, we should fix it. There’s still an opportunity to get in, it’s a little later, but it’s still okay.
I can give you two examples:
There is a company that is reimagining productivity experiences. They think the lines between an application and a document are blurring. They are one and the same. They also want to have one canvas that has text, tables, charts, visualization, data, all of the above, and make it light. They question why do you need Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and all these different canvases and tools when you can have just one canvas that enables the user to do all of this in a seamless way.
I have known the CEO of this company for a while, and he and I had a chance to catch up and chat two years ago. At the time I decided I wasn’t ready to invest. But even as I made the decision, I knew that I might have been making a wrong decision, so I stayed in touch with the CEO of the company. A year later, there was another chance to get in and I said, I’m going to do it now.
I am so glad I did. Looking back, it would have been better if I did the previous year, but it’s okay.
Let me give you another example where we didn’t invest. Auth0 is a company most people know, and it’s a Seattle company so it’s in our hometown. Earlier on, we looked at Auth0 a couple of times, and for some reason or another we didn’t come to the finish line. Since then, we’ve always regretted it. This is a company that we should have been a part of.
Congratulations to the Auth0 team for having a fantastic journey and a fantastic exit. But that’s one where I feel like we missed out.
Kima: I can understand your regret. They have done well.