Co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners Passes Away

Naren Gupta, a venture capitalist who co-founded Nexus Venture Partners to help Indian SaaS companies expand into foreign markets, died on Saturday at the age of 73. After leaving Intel, Gupta began looking for investment possibilities and founded Integrated Systems, a software business that was subsequently bought by Intel. Gupta started out his career at Intel as an engineer and resigned following his failure to develop a chip called the “billion transistor” computer.

“My introduction to venture capital and investing was entirely accidental,” he stated in a podcast last year. “I really had no plans to do it. But the opportunity seemed good, and I met lots of entrepreneurs and once in a while, I made investments.”

Gupta made one of his first deals as an investor when he backed an Indian firm that accepted a takeover offer against his wishes. Gupta realized if he had a formal venture fund, his portfolio companies would be able to take long-term risks because of it.

“That’s why I got interested in venture in India. In 2005 and 2006, I made a number of trips and met hundreds of companies,” he recalled in the podcast.

It was a huge gamble. India had just a few firms and even fewer investors to back them at the time. Nexus was looking for organizations that might assist large businesses with their challenges. Its claim was that such methods would be beneficial to multinationals all over the world.

“Technology really does not follow any political boundaries. What we were able to do early on was bring the U.S. norms and approach to building companies and mix that with the Indian talent and Indian capability to get things done. India is very entrepreneurial at getting things done,” he said.

In 2006, he launched Nexus Venture Partners, a venture capital fund that today has over 2 billion in assets under management. Postman, an API platform, and Olx, an online classifieds site, are among the firm’s past successes. WhiteHat Jr., a coding software company, and Unacademy (university of education technology), an edtech startup were also financed by The Fund.Prior to the acquisition by IBM, he was a director and CEO of Red Hat. He served as a board member and president.

Several generations of Indian startups owe Gupta “a debt of gratitude,” according to Sumanth Raghavendra, a Bangalore-based entrepreneur.

He embodied everything positive that a founder looks for in an investor, always backing founders unconditionally, especially when they were in a tough spot.

— Kunal Bahl (@1kunalbahl) December 26, 2021

“Naren was a pillar in the worldwide technology and entrepreneurial ecosystems, as well as an early pioneer of Indian venture capital. Nexus will miss his enthusiasm, compassion, and exceptional intellect, and we will all remember him as a mentor and close friend,” according to a fund representative’s statement Sunday night.

“He is survived by his wife, Vinita Gupta, and two daughters. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family in this very difficult time.”