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Manish Singhal, Founding Partner of Pi Ventures on India’s Deep Tech Scene

This is the third episode of SOSV’s new podcast ‘Deep Tech: From Lab to Market’ where Founders and Investors share how ‘deep tech’ innovation can go from lab to market. It is available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and other platforms. Subscribe on Twitter at @LabToMarket.

About Manish and pi Ventures

Manish Singhal is the founding partner of pi Ventures, a $30 million early stage deep tech fund based in Bangalore. Before founding Pi Ventures in 2016 as one of the very first AI-focused funds, he has worked for over 2 decades in R&D, product and general management roles in global companies creating video technologies and consumer electronics, including Motorola and Sling Media. Here is a recent article Manish wrote on the Indian Deep Tech startup ecosystem (Medium).

India’s Tech Scene

The scene has grown tremendously over the past few years. In 2019, about $14 billion were invested across all sectors, with close to a thousand active investors, and about 21 unicorns (#4 globally after US, China, and UK). Deep tech is still relatively new, but growing across many sectors — from agriculture to industry.

Note: SOSV is also an active investor in India, with about 30 investments, via both our hardware program, HAX (see portfolio at the bottom), and cross-border software ones Chinaccelerator and MOX. Find more in our portfolio and this interview of William Bao Bean, Chinaccelerator Managing Director and SOSV G, on India’s opportunities.

Episode Overview

In this episode, Manish talks about:

  • The growing local deep tech scene,
  • How pi Ventures met over 1,100 companies over 3 years to make 11 investments,
  • The attractive opportunities in the market,
  • His approach to deep tech investment and ‘bottom-up investing’,
  • The problem with asking experts who are naturally skeptical,
  • Why India is a great place to build healthcare startups
  • The left shift of the flatter S-curve in deep tech
  • The cultural shift in the acceptance of startups and failure.
  • The emergence of global players Made in India.

Resources & Companies Mentioned

  • Manish’s article on the Indian Deep Tech startup ecosystem (Medium)
  • Pandorum Technologies: artificial cornea
  • Niramai: non-invasive detection of breast cancer (coverage in Entrepreneur)
  • Agnikul: low-cost space launchers (coverage in Inc42)
  • Locus: supply chain decision-making engine
  • Wysa: AI Chat for mental health that makes you feel heard
  • Raybaby (SOSV): advanced non-contact baby monitor that detects breathing
  • Cradlewise (SOSV): smart crib that detects wake-up and soothes the baby to sleep
  • Unbox Robotics (SOSV): robots for package sorting

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Benjamin Joffe

Benjamin Joffe

7.6K Followers

Partner @ SOSV — Deep Tech VC w/ $1B AUM | Digital Naturalist | Keynote Speaker | Angel Investor | Mediocre chess player, worse at Jiu-jitsu