Tanmay Bhat on his love for startups and why angel investing gives him the ‘trip’


The evolution from being an influencer to an actor or turning entrepreneur and then investor – today’s content creators have truly found their moment in the sun. And one man – regarded as the ‘original gangster’ in all forms of content creation and is a prime example of this constant state of transformation – is none other than Tanmay Bhat, whose latest addition to the many titles and designations already under his belt includes angel investor in Indian startups.

Truth be told, Tanmay Bhat’s foray into angel investing stems from his deep admiration for the strength and resilience of startup founders. Angel investing, Tanmay says, affords him the joy or “trip” of entrepreneurship without being a startup founder.

“(Startup) founders are phenomenal. They are hardened by life and those kinds of people are amazing. I have deep empathy for startup founders,” Tanmay says in a candid conversation with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma at YourStory’s Creators Inc conference.

“I am too lazy to be a full time founder. So founder wala trip bhi mil jaata hai thoda bahut. Aisa lagta hai kuch to needle hila hai (So I get the kick of being a founder),” he adds.

Early last year, Tanmay invested in Qoohoo, a platform that helps creators monetise their followers. Prior to that he invested in investment-tech startup Smallcase, which counts Sequoia Capital and Beenext among its leading investors. Tanmay took 10 preference shares in Smallcase for a 0.3 percent stake.

“I am learning in some hard ways how to conserve liquidity, how to deploy cash correctly, how to double down on your conviction. I didn’t know all these when I started, but angel investing is a fun journey. I think being an angel investor is a long-term feedback loop, so you wanna [sic] invest in the process,” he adds.

In the initial days of his angel investing, it was more about finding a common ground of interest with the startup founders and a commitment to making the venture more financially valuable. But soon, Tanmay realised he can also add value to these startups. 

“I created an ad for Smallcase. It was nice when founders received compliments and felt happy,” he adds. 

To invest, his strategy is simple. He brings together his group of friends from all walks of life – entrepreneurs, product heads, finance experts and more – and gets them on a call with the startup founder with the aim of having a more holistic opinion. 

Jab ek product banane wala insaan founder se baat kerta hai conversation poori alag hoti hai. Mera judgment kabhi unki judgement se match nahi ker paega (When a product guy talks to a founder the conversation is entirely different. My judgment can never match theirs),” he said and signed off, hinting towards his future plans.

“I think I am just a few steps away from launching a syndicate where people with different skill sets come together. Jinko machane ka shock hai (Those who like to do something different). A win-win for everyone.”

Catch YourStory’s Creators Inc conference here.

For more on other key initiatives as part of the conference, visit our Creators Inc. website here.

Recognising the burgeoning creator ecosystem and the new wave of entrepreneurship that comes with it, YourStory is celebrating the works of both established and emerging influencers in an initiative aimed at identifying, celebrating and accelerating the journey of digital creators who make extraordinary, unique and engaging content. We’ve partnered with Trell to bring you the Top 100 Creators challenge, which you can apply for here.


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