Here’s what this former investor is looking for in a winning idea

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From Jeff Bezos to Tencent, entrepreneur Nipun Mehra has a host of investors backing his Indonesian e-commerce start-up, Ula.

But as a former start-up investor himself, he had a head start when it came to soliciting funding.

Having been an early backer for Southeast Asian rideshare company Gojek and other regional start-ups during her time at venture capital firm Sequoia India, Mehra said that ‘There were three key questions he always asked every business.

Here are the questions.

Vision

“One, what’s the vision? Mehra told CNBC Make It.

Investors want to know what a founder wants their company to be and if their target market is large enough to support that vision, he said. So, potential founders should be prepared to share their big idea – and the market data to back it up.

In Mehra’s case, Ula was creating an e-commerce service for the millions of Indonesian neighborhood kiosks, called warungs, which are used daily by local residents. In a country of over 270 million people – and therefore potential consumers – it was a large addressable market.

Team

“Second, is the team that’s going to be doing this good enough? Mehra said.

“Good enough” means that a founder is both “hungry enough and smart enough” to achieve his vision, he explained.

The co-founders of Ula Riky Tenggara, Derry Sakti and Alan Wong.

Oula

But it also implies that they must also be aware of their weaknesses and be able to call on others to balance them.

For example, while Mehra had 15 years of e-commerce and investment experience, he was less familiar with the Indonesian market and brought in co-founders to supplement this knowledge.

Balance sheet

“Third, what’s the record? Mehra said. “If you have to [reach] there the track record must be able to support the fact that the vision may someday come true. “

This involves demonstrating the company’s successes so far, through a combination of customer feedback, data analysis and financial reporting, he said.

Fortunately and fortunately, we found ourselves on the right side of this conversation.

Nipun Mehra

co-founder and CEO, Ula


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