Mr. Avnish Bajaj is an angel investor, mentor and a highly successful technology entrepreneur. He is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Matrix Partners India. Founded in 2006, the Indian VC firm today manages assets worth $710 million in 50+ companies. He is also the founder of Bazee.com, the first Indian e-commerce site focused on bidding of used products, that was later acquired by eBay for $55 million.
From entrepreneurship to angel investing, Mr. Bajaj has experienced both the depth and the breadth of establishing big businesses and the challenges involved. He has been on the list of ‘Top 25 Young Achievers of India’ and has also won the ‘Midas Touch’ Best Investor Award by The Economic Times. In 2018, IIT Kanpur conferred upon him the prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award for entrepreneurial and management excellence.
“The most successful people operate at the intersection of three things – passion, skill set and opportunity.”
Mr. Avnish Bajaj obtained a B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1992 and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A. In September 1993, he joined Apple Computer Inc. as a Project Manager – SAP and worked there till December 1996. Following it, he decided to pursue MBA and joined the Harvard Business School. During his two-year management program, he interned with McKinsey and Co. for three months and worked on strategic consulting. He then worked with Goldman Sachs as an investment banker before returning to India and starting his own venture. “I was carried away by the dot-com craze and I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. The best way to get rich and control your own destiny is entrepreneurship and I kept working to achieve that.” That paved way for Bazee.com.
Bazee.com, founded in 2000, was India’s largest e-commerce/auction site connecting buyers with sellers. In the initial years, the startup went through many turbulent times but as the company’s strategy shifted from PR and marketing to creating world-class user experience, it gained strong foothold and ultimately succeeded. In 2004, it was sold to eBay. “I have learnt that the best product ultimately wins. And I think, somewhat relatedly, focus is very important.” Mr. Bajaj continued to head eBay India as Chairman and Country Manager for a year and a half before setting up his next venture.
In 2006, the Matrix Partners India came into existence with Mr. Bajaj as one of the co-founders. It is one of India’s most successful venture capital (VC) firms. They are early-stage investors based in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi with more than 50 investments and $710 million in assets under management across various sectors including consumer technology, B2B enterprise, fintech, among others. It has invested in firms like Ola, Quikr, Practo, Centre for Sight, Cloudnine, Limeroad, Meditrina, Mewar Hospitals, Ortho, Testbook, DailyNinja and many more. When it comes to making investments, Mr. Bajaj invests in “companies that have India as their primary market and definitely the focus market.”
Mr. Bajaj serves on several committees and boards: Director of Moods Hospitality; Director at Kids Clinic India; Non-Executive Independent Director of Shoppers Stop and Centre For Sight; Director of Digital Music India; member of Board of Directors of Cleartrip and Member of the Young President Organization and Entrepreneur’s Organization. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the incubator cells at various IITs and IIMs. He has won numerous accolades for being a visionary entrepreneur namely, Top 25 Young Achievers in India, Outlook Magazine 2005; Midas Touch best investor award by The Economic Times; repeat presence in ’40 who matter’ list.