Introducing India’s first operator-led VC fund
My name is Girish Mathrubootham.
I am the founder and CEO of Freshworks.
Today, Freshworks is a large company with more than 3,800 team members and offices all over the world. But almost eleven years ago, we were just a six-member team operating out of a small garage in Chennai.
I didn’t have a gilt-edged resume or family wealth but that never stopped me from dreaming big. I was lucky enough to find great investors and employees who saw the possibility of my ambitions.
But I realize that not every founder is as fortunate, which is why I have backed more than sixty startups as an angel investor. While many of these startups prospered and grew into marquee names, what gave me the most satisfaction was seeing underrated founders morph into ambitious individuals, confident of their place in this world. Seeing these founders transform was both exhilarating and satisfying. I loved being part of their success — all of us suffused with the rush of being part of a larger whole.
So, when my friend, Manav Garg, broached the idea of starting a fund, I jumped at the idea.
To me, Together is not just a fund, it is a way to pay it forward to the startup community that gave me so much. It is a natural progression of the “pay it forward” initiatives we started with community programs such as PNGrowth, SaaSx and SaaSBOOMi.
With Together, we are not just offering capital to founders, we are offering our time and counsel as well. We have brought together a large network of more than 150 founders and operators across India and Silicon Valley to provide contextual help and guidance — from their personal experience to insights they have from running or leading companies.
Together, we can build world-class companies. Like Abdul Kalam said, “Dream is not something which you see while sleeping; it is something that doesn’t let you sleep.” Our dream is to establish India as a true Product Nation.
My personal ambition for Together Fund is not about making it the most successful VC firm in the country; rather it is to be recognized as India’s most founder-friendly VC. Why is this important?
Manav will answer this.
My name is Manav Garg.
I am the founder and CEO of Eka Software, a cloud platform for CFOs office — Unifying procurement to payments.
Today Eka is a global company with 10 offices and 600 people. However, it took a tribe and support from a lot of people to reach here especially when the Indian startup ecosystem was still in its infancy.
Startup ideas are beautiful, wild, and raw.
But ideas alone are not enough to change the world.
Founders need to convert ideas into action. Such plans cannot be executed alone — it requires an army and a lot of support.
That is what Together Fund aspires to provide.
But this is not just about funding. In today’s world, capital is a commodity. As a founder myself, I know that founders don’t just need passive investors but active, hands-on partners that they can lean on — not just when times are good but also, and especially, when times are tough.
Your relationship with Together shouldn’t just be like having an investor in your company — it will be like having an additional co-founder. Sticking with you through thick and thin. The kind of investors that we dreamed of partnering with when we started our own startup journeys.
This core principle is why Together has been designed to be “founder-first” — while financial returns matter,, that is secondary to the firm’s primary imperative to ensure that it does right by the founder at all times, operating on the simple, but often forgotten, belief that what is good for the founder is good for the company and ultimately good for investors.
While Together was envisioned as an operator-led fund, it was clear that the team would need to be complemented with a professional venture capitalist who will ensure that the firm’s operations are disciplined and structured. The prism for this choice was a question — “Who is the most founder-friendly VC in India?” and the answer was clear.
Shubham Gupta is one of the most empathetic VCs in the country. Time and time again, founders have narrated how Shubham went out of his way to give his time for founders and helped them in various ways that go far beyond the ambit of an investor.
My name is Shubham Gupta and until recently, I was leading SaaS investments at Matrix Partners.
When Girish and Manav broached the idea of Together, I couldn’t have been more delighted.
Prior to my stint at Matrix, I was an investment banker in Singapore, but my real passion was working with ambitious founders and supporting them as an angel investor. Not just any angel investor but the first person that they could call if they ever needed any help, advice or simply a connection to someone in my network. I was lucky enough to work with many amazing founders and took pride in being their 2 am friends. Witnessing their journeys at close quarters was an invigorating experience and made me realize that my calling in life was helping founders win.
Together’s goal is to become the first port of call for any founder looking to raise funds. But capital is a commodity today and the firm needs to offer a lot more.
Once Together has partnered with a founder, it will go “all in” — leveraging the experiences and learnings of the team. The fact that Together is led by founders and builders gives the firm a unique advantage of having a contemporary perspective on what works and what doesn’t. But in addition to this, Together has assembled a vast network of over 150 global founders and operators, an unmatched combination of people + technology + knowledge, to help your startup reach product-fit in an efficient way, scale faster and pave the way for a world-beating company.
Right at the get-go, Together has a “community DNA” baked into its nature, an ecosystem of enablers that will serve as a personal army for each startup founder that the firm partners with. That is why it is an honor and privilege to introduce Avinash Raghava, who will spearhead our community and culture initiatives.
My name is Avinash Raghava.
For the past two decades, I have been working on community initiatives within the Indian startup ecosystem across organizations such as NASSCOM, iSPIRT and SaaSBOOMi.
I have always enjoyed connecting brilliant, talented, and ambitious people who can gain from each other. And all these years, I have experienced the joy of seeing founders paying it forward and helping other founders.
Specifically, I have seen founders finding help invaluable on two counts.
• Help in building — how to get to product-market-fit, how to avoid common mistakes.
• Help in scaling — how to expand, raise follow-on funds, build org culture and leadership.
Within a team that spans India and the US, Together can help founders build and scale across both geographies. But equally importantly, Together has built a network of more than 150 founders, product heads, engineers, designers, and other operators across the world who will offer authentic help and guidance to founders as they seek to build world-class companies. The assistance offered will be both tactical as well as strategic — tribal knowledge + contextual guidance around product-market-fit or customer acquisition as well as broader challenges around entering new markets, planning further fundraising, preparing for organization culture changes.
The broad goal is to make India a true Product Nation together.
If you are a startup founder who would like to partner with Together on this journey, the team is waiting to hear from you, so reach out to us!
Let’s build together.
Let’s scale together.
Let’s win together.
Together Fund is a founder-first venture capital fund set up in 2021 with an initial corpus of $85 million to help India’s best entrepreneurs build, scale and win together, establishing India as a true Product Nation.