Speaking to TechGraph, Vittal Ramakrishna, CEO & Founder of POD World discusses how POD’s full-stack fundraising platform is simplifying the funding approach for startups and investors.
Read the complete interview:
TechGraph: Could you provide an overview of POD World and its role in helping early-stage ventures with their fundraising process? What unique services or strategies does POD World offer to support startups in this regard?
Vittal Ramakrishna: POD is a full-stack fundraising platform that was founded in 2022 by Vittal Ramakrishna and Neelendra Nath. The platform is designed to make startup fundraising seamless and transparent and to provide retail investors the opportunity to invest in promising startup deals.
Here is an overview of POD World’s key features that empower startups in their fundraising efforts:
● Access to a large pool of potential investors
● A suite of tools and resources to enable startups with funding
● Educational resources for entrepreneurs
● All-year-round events such as pitches and community meetups
Although POD is a relatively new platform, it has already gained a significant following among startups and investors in India.
TechGraph: The startup funding landscape is constantly evolving. How does POD World stay up-to-date with industry trends and adapt its services to meet early-stage venture needs?
Vittal Ramakrishna: POD is connected to a lot of startup ecosystem players and partners throughout India. Furthermore, there is an internal compliance team looking at the policies and regulation space closely for new developments and changes in the fundraising domain. POD is quick to adapt to any alteration in regulations and takes a compliant approach to fundraising. POD ensures it is on top of Regulatory changes and empowers its portfolio startups with a process that’s by the book.
TechGraph: Building investor confidence is crucial for startups seeking funding. How does POD World support early-stage ventures in building a compelling investment narrative and presenting their value proposition effectively to potential investors?
Vittal Ramakrishna: POD has three touchpoints with the startup founders while they are pitching. One of them is during the screening conversation when the team evaluates how effectively the founders are pitching and will be able to pitch to potential investors. The second offering is where POD has its flagship event called POP Series. POP stands for Pitch on POD and this virtual pitch happens every fortnight.
Through these sessions, the internal team at POD assesses the investor interest in these startups. Once the investor interest is clear, there is a much deeper conversation which happens through deep dive sessions with founders and potential investors. And throughout this entire process, the internal team at POD supports and offers advice on the best practices to the founders.
In addition to this, POD also has a feature in place to get startups to streamline their pitching framework, with the one-pager option. Startups simply enter their business details in a template and a one-page document is ready for download and share. A comprehensive SaaS tool with enhanced functionality of this offering called the PitchPager is due to launch soon.
TechGraph: The due diligence process is an important aspect of securing investment. How does POD World assist startups in preparing for due diligence and ensuring that their business and financials are to instill confidence in potential investors?
Vittal Ramakrishna: POD has a very strong internal five-point metric system which is followed diligently to ensure a startup and the startup’s founder meet the required criteria. Information related to the startups is vetted thoroughly so that POD can present the best deals to investors. From day one, POD is always looking to improve upon aspects related to screening.
The team also looks into aspects like Product-market fit. Furthermore, aspects like Founder-market fit are also taken into account before startups are onboarded.
All these parameters are projected through POD’s scoring system and then shared with potential investors. POD holds this assessment as a sacrosanct aspect of its business and stringent measure is one of the leading causes of low acceptance ratio in listing startup deals on the platform.
TechGraph: How does POD World maintain transparency and trust with both the ventures and investors you work with? What measures do you have in place to ensure the integrity of the process?
Vittal Ramakrishna: Transparency and credibility are two important factors in the financial industry. POD is one among several companies in the fintech world which entirely focuses on building trust and a strong relationship with all the stakeholders involved in the ecosystem.
- For this, all the information displayed by the startup is entirely visible to the investors.
- Likewise, the investor KYC and other details are promptly presented to the startup during filing.
From the platform side, this is something that usually happens to increase not just trust but also build diligence in the investment process. The founders at POD are proud to mention that POD is one of the only platforms which showcase the deal terms transparently.