Lightbox

Sandeep Murthy

Partner

Irresistibly drawn to technology and gadgets and emerging DJ in local circles

Sandeep is the glue at Lightbox. Having pulled together the team over the last five years, he’s the one responsible for keeping the machine moving as one.

As an early investor in InMobi and InfoEdge, two of India's billion dollar technology companies, Sandeep Murthy is one of the builders of India's Internet economy. And he hasn't just seen the highs and lows play out as an investor, but actually roughed it out in operational roles including one as the CEO of Cleartrip in 2006 for three years.

A dreamer from the start, who doesn’t believe in choosing between “this or that” he did his undergrad in both business and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  Like all good Penn grads he dove into investment banking. However, since it was the height of the dot.com boom, he did it a little differently by moving out to Palo Alto, California to join CSFB Technology Group.

After teaming up with a friend to build a digital music company that was incubated by Sony Music – 10 years too early. He ended up selling the company to Sony after the Internet bubble burst. After a few years of living the Bay Area dream, he moved to New York to join InterActive Corp (IAC) the owners of Expedia, TicketMaster, Home Shopping Network where he helped launch Gifts.com. He started to explore the India technology opportunity and ultimately moved to Mumbai to manage investments for Sherpalo Ventures, a fund based out of Menlo Park in California.

Sandeep has raised over $400M from leading investors.  His most recent investments include Droom, Faasos, Furlenco and AI-platform Embibe, which got a $185MM investment commitment from Reliance, India's internet super power. This is the largest AI investment in edtech any where in the world.

In a somewhat unpredictable market, Sandeep’s investment success stems from a combination of deep product instinct and unconventional thinking, that has been the basis of all his investments — from pre-revenue startups to multi-billion-dollar businesses.

Most of his time is spent figuring how to make something unprecedented happen. With an all-in, nothing-held-back style, he loves diving in, getting to the heart of a matter, trying new things and getting as many people involved as possible. This approach helps to find multiple solutions: some surprising, others straightforward. If you want to hear some stories of what it takes to build a consumer technology company in India, just pull up a chair and buckle up... it’s been a rocket of a ride.

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Q&A

What does failure mean to you?  
Failure is a painful learning opportunity, without which, success would never be as sweet.

What’s your superpower?
Storytelling

Which is your favourite city in the world?
Welligama on the southern coast of Sri Lanka… great waves, cool beach shacks and amazing people

Favourite books this year
AI superpowers by Kai-Fu Lee and Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen

If you weren’t a venture capitalist, you’d be..
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