Random Musings

As I caught my breath after a few weeks of hectic pace – for both BVG and me personally, I thought about penning in a summary of key events of 2015 and a brief look forward to 2016.

2015 – phew what a year it was! Whether it was the stock markets gyrating to Feds rate increases, or reacting to Oil prices downwards trajectory or to the Startups racing to become Unicorns & Pukicorns, (filing a trademark for this as we speak :) )example reflected below, courtesy of @RobinWigg detailing the downfall of $VRX shares.


VRX shares puking pony raghu vohra


It was also a memorable  year both for BVG, as a group, and I, as a professional. For BVG 2015’s area of focus for startups investments were INDIA and MENA regions. The earlier part of the year saw our investment  in  CapitalMind.in – (A new age Financial Analytics Firm based out B’lore, India) founded by @deepakshenoy.

The second part of the year we were very impressed by what Dipesh @dipesh008  co-founder of Truelancer.com (An On-demand Freelance Marketplace ) was trying to achieve and we couldn’t pass the opportunity :) to get on board. A side note here is that we connected with Dipesh @dipesh008 via twitter first – shows the power of @twitter as a powerful tool/medium for StartUps and Investors.

Our investments were talked in startup arena around the world, and some were highlighted in media at iamwire, CapitalMind,  PRweb, EconomicTimes  and at Medianama. Yours truly was interviewed by Simon Cocking @SimonCocking at Irish Tech News – here Chat with Simon

2015 has also been the year of change at various levels but the most obvious is the website redesign of BVG which is still WIP and yes, of course, I am using @Trulancer_services for getting it done.

I also wanted to give a shout out to Jared Broad @JaredBroad the founder of QuantConnect who was gracious in having me on his Advisory Board and for the tremendous work he has put in growing QuantConnect. For those interested in algorithmic automated trading, also – strongly recommend checking QuantConnect out. Let’s take a 30 sec summary as to why we decided to invest with both @CapitalMind_In and @Trulancer_.


Blackstone valley group investments

Major factors which endorse our decision to invest in Truelancer are:

  • Most freelancer jobs go to India i.e. 38% of the total jobs.
  • Highest youth population, 23.48 million, between the age group of 18-19 years.
  • India ranks 3rd in terms of internet users, 243 million, which is only 17% of its population.
  • Female freelancers, a hidden treasure, will act as watershed for Indian freelance  industry.



freelance jobs distribution country wise




Unemployment rate men and woman in Asia


Why CapitalMind?

  • High growth rate of per capita income will increase investments, in turn, financial analytics will increase.
  • Indian equity market is of around $1.7 Trillion, which is very alluring.
  • Balanced involvement of various sectors in the Indian market, makes this market much more stable.
  • Volumes in Derivatives have gone up more than 4x.
Growth in terms of avg per capita income USA India and Asia

Data extracted from http://data.worldbank.org/

Growth prediction of avg per capita income in coming years USA India and Asia

Indian Nift Index breaking Post 2013 Uptrend

As a part of the investments, Blackstone Valley Group will on board their operational expertise and network and I will join the Board of Directors for both CapitalMind and Truelancer.

2016 – Looking forward, on a personal note, I am very excited to start my new role as a VP-Client Engagement & Implementation at Brightscope ( @BrightScope ). I have tremendous respect for what Mike @mikealfred along with Ryan @ryanalfred  and rest of the team at Brightscope have achieved in the Retirement space using Technology to disrupt and bring transparency and change.  I look forward to adding strategic and tactical value to the Brightscope team  in my role by implementing key programs and initiatives that drive business outcome for BrightScope clients. Really excited to bring the change which is expected from me.

For BVG  2016, a few predictions from the “Tea Leaves” I see, Oil will rebound in the 2nd half of 2016, negative yields will spread more risk and outflows from the bond funds especially the Sovereign ones, a great opportunity for distressed corporate credit funds most of them are usually open to only institutions (yeah I heard about Third Avenue debacle), Millennials will focus more on retirement & bring more business to “RoboAdvisors” as they hate talking to people leading to demands for greater data quality & transparency from the legacy systems of broker-dealers – some of which ( @BrightScope ) is stewarding, & last but not the least to keep the focus on the MENA region there are a few startups that caught our attention are on our favorite list, so watch this space and twitter  for news as it happens.

And yes www.pukicorns.com is for real, just waiting for the some of the lofty valued Unicorns to bite the dust :)

Here is a link to a Linked-In post MENA Region Angel Investment,  I did a few weeks ago detailing the opportunity and state of the StartUp ecosystem in the MENA region.

A journey towards the summit has just begun and the year 2016 will mark the inception of this voyage. As usual comments/feedbacks welcome. Please do follow @BlackstoneVG, thanks for reading and your support.



Markets – A Swing Story of 2-Days (Investments)

Hello Folks, what an interesting year so far. We have Unicorns, Stock market crashes and central bankers now playing the roles of Super Heroes and everyone wondering about the Co-Relation between the stock market gyrations and Start Up – VC funding.

redI decided to write about this and the implications for the startup world but then who better than Mark Suster (GP -UpfrontVentures) to explain the co-relations here (http://goo.gl/bRJMzD) – a must read!

Its been a very busy year with travel, work, working with portfolio companies and deal flows (phew) the highest deal flow which I have seen come across in the last 3 years – is it the market, is it because we are now starting to be known around the block (a very tiny block), is it my increased social media adventures, (YouTube https://goo.gl/H8U4EK , https://goo.gl/pdqhs1 ) or tweeting @BlackstoneVG ☺  (https://goo.gl/jpKR5d ) don’t know but it has been good.

The tough part has been getting back to all the entrepreneurs in time and there I have failed. I pride myself for a zero inbox policy and a response within 24 hrs yet, I found consistently falling behind. I apologize again to all the founders/entrepreneurs who got delayed responses from our side – its my fault and have taken steps to ensure that we are able to deal with this more efficiently.

So What’s on Tap? Well for the most part – looking at the quality of the deal flows I expect us to be busy in getting involved with more startups in different capacities and maybe looking at a few mature ones too. One thing I realized is that not everyone is looking for $$ but some are looking for direction, guidance and a bit of mentoring. This is especially important for first time entrepreneurs and especially those who haven’t had the break of getting in through Y-Combinator or any of the other accelerators. I am firm believer that ecosystems do matter in nurturing and guidance in early stages – which can often make a difference between a successful startup – Unicorn or Not.


Figure 2 US Equtiies Markets as of 08/24/15 –ht FinViz

As I started winding down my post here is how the market closed today…go figure ☺

I want to keep it short and sweet and let you go with a question…

Which commodity has had the biggest price increase (% change from previous month) June ’15 to July ‘15?



Please email your replies to rvohra@blackstonevalleygroup.com
Or tweet them to @BlackstoneVG.

Thank You!
For reading and your continued support!


2015 – Start with a Bang! CapitalMind

We are pleased to announce that late March, we led a syndicate of US and Indian investors to close a seed round investment in CapitalMind based in Bangalore, India.

You can find out more about this deal here , there and a few other places.

Why CapitalMind?

Capital Mind is on a quest to bring new age financial analytics to their readers, subscribers and partners related to macro-economic events, policy changes, market metrics, individual stocks/bonds offerings capturing the storyboard about India.

  1. India has the largest single stock futures market in the world.
  2. The size of the Indian Equity market is about ~ $1.7 Trillion (in market cap) while the GDP is a bit higher @ ~ $2 Trillion.
  3. Volumes in Derivatives have gone up more than 4x
  4. Retail participation in the equity and derivatives markets is more than 20%.

Source: Who else but the incredible team @CapitalMind

The last decade has seen the market cap go up around 2.4x while the GDP has gone up correspondingly by 3x. This has led to humongous amounts of data being pushed out there related to macro-micro economics, market statistics, companies data, policy impacts, but yet very little has been done to harness the power of the information available and bring it to the investors in India.

The data hungry investors (both the average Joe on the street as well as the Institutional folks) are looking not only at the blobs of data but more importantly at the interpretation of this information overload.  Can someone collect, massage, analyze and distill this data in an easy to understand format?

Why Now?

Capital Mind’s Mission is targeting this market space and serving an unfulfilled need which is reflecting in their 30% growth in paid subscribers since inception (3Q 2014) and have great UAR metrics in all their soft launches and beta offerings.

We have been tracking the trajectory of Capital Mind from its inception days and always wanted to be part of the growth story. However we wanted to be as diligent as we could and also ensure that the team led by @DeepakShenoy would get much more than $$ with this investment. With that thought, we pulled the trigger and are very happy to have done so.

They are not sitting on the pile of cash they raised or the laurels garnered and are hiring aggressively, so if you or someone you know is interested in joining a hot new financial analytics startup in B’lore, India– do send your applications to jobs@capitalmind.in.

Thank you for your support and patience. As we grow our portfolio selectively, we are making some changes to the website and also engaging with social medial more directly.  I am more active on twitter nowadays – so you can follow me @BlackstoneVG (yes I do need more followers & RTs☺).

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have questions or comments. I can be reached via email.