Harshjit Sethi

  • Venture
“Enduring success comes from playing the long game.”

I’ve always made decisions following my intuition. I grew up in Bombay and was lucky enough to attend Stanford. I studied Computer Science and Electrical Engineering there – a choice I made serendipitously after signing up for an introductory CS class because it was taught by a really cool professor.

My first exposure to Sequoia and venture capital was also by chance. I joined Stanford’s entrepreneurship club and in my third year of college, I led E-Bootcamp, which was one of America’s largest student entrepreneurship conferences at the time. I managed to convince Sequoia to sponsor the conference. It was the first time I got exposed to what venture capital really is.

After a turn at McKinsey, I joined Dropbox as an early employee, where I led product for Android. I loved building products and seeing the impact of our work on hundreds of millions of users globally was exhilarating.

My heart was always in India though, given how important family is to me. A few meetings to learn more about India’s startup scene in 2015 quickly turned to real excitement to be a part of this community and I moved back a few months later.

My grandfather has been a key influence in my life. He was a self made man who taught me several of the values I hold dear: you should love what you do, your values are non-negotiable, and respect doesn’t come from personal success – it comes from the role you play in enabling collective success.

I recently asked a couple of founders on how they would describe my investment style and the words I heard most often were “conviction-led”.

In 2015, I started spending a lot of time on SaaS when the ecosystem was very early. At that point, you could count the number of startups in India with $1 million in ARR on your fingers and most people thought I was barking up the wrong tree. However, having seen a SaaS business get built closely at Dropbox made me optimistic on the future of SaaS – and what a transformational change the last few years have seen!

When I meet founders, I look for three things: ambition, followership and a ‘spike’. Ambition to change the world with the company you build. Followership, because building a startup is hard, especially in the early days, so the ability to convince team members, investors and partners to join you in the crusade is critical. And a spike is key: founders don’t need to be excellent at everything but there should be something they can become world class at, be it product or sales or team building.

I enjoy the journey of connecting with founders at the earliest stages with a mindset of being a true partner to help them solve for product-market fit and scale. I can assure you of one thing – I will give it my all to help your company succeed.

Get in touch with Harshjit

Running / traveling / spy movies / uncle / food

Press & Media

Current Companies

[*]Indicates Current Board Seats

  • Apna is a platform that creates better economic opportunities for India's blue/grey collar workforce.
    Partnered In

    2019

  • BharatPe is a FinTech company that empowers Indian merchants to accept UPI payments from their customers for free through the BharatPe QR.
    Partnered In

    2018

  • Darwinbox is an end-to-end integrated HR system helping enterprises streamline activities across the employee lifecycle and simultaneously drive employee engagement.
    Partnered In

    2019

  • FamPay offers India's first online and offline card payments for teenagers.
    Partnered In

  • Freshworks is a leading provider of cloud-based customer engagement software.
    Partnered In

    2016

  • Last9 is a modern reliability stack making it easy for engineering & DevOps teams to gain visibility, adopt SLOs, and ship reliable software faster.
    Partnered In

    2020

  • Outplay helps sales reps book more meetings with a truly multi-channel sales engagement platform.
    Partnered In

  • Skillmatics is a full stack direct-to-consumer brand that develops innovative educational products and games that build core skills in children through systematic play.
    Partnered In

    2019

  • Smallcase uses technology to introduce a new generation of investors to the Indian equity markets.
    Partnered In

    2018

  • Turtlemint uses proprietary algorithms and rich data analytics to help customers select and complete their insurance purchases.
    Partnered In

    2016