Mr. Ankush Gera, the founder, and CEO of Junglee Games is a well-known name. The company was founded by him in San-Francisco and is backed by top tier venture capitalists and has emerged as a leader in the gaming space. Junglee Games boasts of over 10 million users across the world.
With the user base for online gaming increasing at a fast pace, Junglee Games is expected to touch 20 million users in a year’s time. Mr. Gera says that his company is competing against games like Mortal Combat and PubG. They are even using Bollywood stars and movies to attract users. Junglee Games offers holistic games that can be enjoyed both individually and along with your loved ones.
Prior to Junglee Games, Mr. Gera founded Monsoon, a boutique software company that was later acquired by Capital One. He is a venture partner at Unshackled and is a limited partner in funds Upshift, Metastable, Fearless.VC, Kae Capital, and Tandeme. Mr. Gera is also on the board of Kintohub, Kunai, and Rainfactory besides being an active angel investor in startups SVAcademy, Lottery.com, Cloudability, Back to the roots, 15five, Wunder, Devoted Health, Lift Aircraft, Jetpack Overflow, Qurom, Biscuits Labs, Roomify, Gravity Group, and the Inkbox.
Mr. Ankush Gera has obtained his Bachelor’s in Computer Science from San Jose State University.
Read on to know more about Mr. Ankush Gera, his vision to expand the gaming platform, the startups he wants to back and a lots more.
What background and domain expertise do you have? What makes you turn into an investor?
Ankush Gera: I am the Founder and CEO of Junglee Games. Founded in San Francisco and backed by top tier VCs, Junglee is the fastest growing skill gaming company with 20 million users. I previously founded Monsoon, a boutique software company that was acquired by Capital One.
I am also a limited partner in funds Metastable, Upshift, Fearless.VC, Tandeme, Kae Capital and a Venture Partner at Unshackled. I am also on the board of Kunai, Kintohub and Rainfactory and an active angel investor in startups Lottery.com, SVAcademy, Back to the roots, Cloudability, 15five, Devoted Health, Wunder, Lift Aircraft, Quorum, Jetpack Overflow, Biscuit Labs, Fynd, Roomify, Inkbox, and the Gravity Group.
Right after being an investor like in early days, there must be some tough times in building up the first fund along with building up a second fund or giving back the good returns to those LPs, If there is any similar tough time like this, please tell me more about it and how you (or your team) overcome the difficult times.
Ankush Gera: I’ve never run a fund. I’m an angel investor.
As an investor, what kind of startups have you invested in? and how did you find those startups to invest in?
Ankush Gera: I’ve always invested in people, not companies. Hungry, authentic, and not yet proven founders often end up playing the best game. I have a sweet spot for founders who have failed before. A failed founder CEO who is data-driven and has high emotional intelligence in addition to intellectuals is my sweet spot.
Dealflow happens mainly through fellow investors and perhaps a small percentage through funds I’m an LP in or angel list syndicates.
What would be the core factors that you decide “Not” to invest in certain companies?
- Founders who are not authentic or comfortable in their own skin
- Leadership teams lacking key pillars like focus on data
- Mindset only focused on growth versus stellar growth and profitability
What would be the KPI that you usually check about the startups’ growth? It may diverse in each industry like LTV, CAC, MoM, etc. but would be helpful to understand more about your additional investment factors.
Ankush Gera: This varies widely with sectors as a Saas or retail business will have substantially different KPIs from a B2C digital e-commerce platform. But for most digital businesses, CAC, LTV, and payback periods on CAC along with the TAM (total addressable market) and an overall improvement in these KPIs are critical.
What is the investment range and in a typical year, how many startups do you invest in? Do overseas headquartered startups have a chance to get investment from you or should they be headquartered in certain countries?
Ankush Gera: 4-5 startups. And they can be based anywhere.
What are the main factors that startups fail as per your experience “after” getting investment and how can they prevent mistakes in advance from your personal perspective?
- Lack of flow and alignment in the leadership team.
- Fear or inability to scale.
- Lack of building a data-driven culture that is drama free.
To counter, put the foundation in place from day 1. Don’t accept mediocrity. Focus on culture and data from day 1.
What’s your advice to entrepreneurs who have a chance to meet investors like you? What are the top 3 questions that you always ask the founders?
Ankush Gera: Don’t cold email investors on Linkedin or Angellist. Always find a warm intro if possible and if not, find events investors may be attending, go in prepared, ask for a few minutes of their time and charm them in person and get them excited about your business and more importantly yourself.
What’s your general thought about the term “Global” and What are the important factors (criteria) for local startups to consider for international expansion?
Ankush Gera: Global domination should be replication. First, you need to conquer your home turf and domestic market and prove strong unit economics. A lot of startups die because they try to scale too fast without being methodical just to cross Global off their list.
What are the one or two things that you would do differently if you could go back to 10 years ago?
- Buy as much Bitcoin as possible.
- Fire people faster.
When you travel internationally, what kind of entrepreneurs and startups (or industries) you want to meet?
Ankush Gera: Anyone who has bootstrapped business with little to no capital into either profitability or strong unit economics. Teams that are fully committed, drama free and energized to build a great business and a better life for themselves, their customers and employees.
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