Close Menu

Manish Kheterpal

Co-Founder and Partner

Manish Kheterpal

Market forces and business models change. I spend most of my time understanding ‘why is an entrepreneur doing it’ and ‘why now’.

Building a lasting business is never a straight line effort, especially in emerging markets like India. It may not be enough to do just one thing right. It’s like downhill skiing where your success depends on the difficulty of the slope (opportunity size), and a multitude of externalities like snowfall (market readiness), temperature (inflection points), visibility (regulatory aspects), other skiers (competition) on the slope, etc. I am therefore looking for versatile founders who have a habit of creating an unfair advantage.

I aspire to bring a rare perspective to the trade of company building. Having been an operator for half a decade, an institutional investor for over a decade, and a failed entrepreneur (which btw taught me more about myself than ever), I try to appreciate both the forest and the trees. My biggest asset for our entrepreneur partners is my high-trust eclectic network across sectors and continents.

At WaterBridge we don’t evaluate a startup from any template. We believe in horses for courses, and that only a certain founder is suited for a certain opportunity. There are no hard rules for single vs multiple founders, or consumer vs enterprise businesses. We believe if a founding team has the right combination of passion, experience, and expertise, you have hit the jackpot!

I advise founders to think big and make the right people decisions early in the company’s lifecycle. One of my favourite quotes goes, “C companies hire behind the curve; B hire ahead of the curve; and A hire & fire ahead of the curve”.

Value-add is a 2-way street. If an investor cannot meaningfully help the entrepreneur, then he/she has not earned a seat on the table. Similarly, I tell founders to step into an investor’s shoes and ‘help them help you’ i.e. build trust in the relationship, and communicate (both wins and losses) frequently.

Founders can expect me to be respectful but direct. My daily humility dose is that our success is entirely dependent on the passion and drive of our founder partners.