DRIL : Data can beat acumen Hands down !

A very famous and an extremely successful Investor was once asked in a group, if he could describe in one sentence, one single factor that made him so successful as an investor where he outperformed practically every other peer. He paused, looked around the faces eager for an answer and said, " I am going to turn the question back to you and ask you what that one singular factor could be".

The participants thought for some time and started volunteering some options . Luck, cash flow, upsides, timing , acumen, peers, co-investing , right advice, good team and dozens of reasons tumbled out but the investor kept discarding each one with a nod of the head.

The group had exhausted their options and turned to him to share that one singular factor that made him have the Midas touch, not by fluke but in investment after investment.

The gentleman  took a long breath and finally said , there are actually two or three reasons but If you want to know the single most powerful reason, here it is. " I always , as a rule, without fail and every time, made it a point to know more than others in the deal. I just made sure I knew more about the opportunity than others, I out-worked everybody. If I was buying , I would make it a point to know more than the Founders and the sellers group and if I was selling, I would make it a point to know more than the founders or other co-investors or co-bidders. That's it. Its so simple" , he said and sat down.

I am sure every investor who read this could relate to this and acknowledge that while it's important and could be a singularly powerful a contributing factor, it's  not so easy.

We , at The Great Unicorn Hunt , have been busy attempting to find answer to this question of how to make sure our Unicorn Hunters and Unicorn Spotters can know more about any deal than others. With this objective we have launched The Deep Research Inquisitive Lab.  We are inquisitive and so are you , so what could be a better name, especially if the acronym turns out to be DRIL. If Data is the new oil and there isn't too much oil about Startups, we are all going to need DRIL.

We have launched a pretty compact but small pilot  team of over two dozen  Data Scientists to pose questions  and seek answers before we open our mouths to help founders and startups.  We are going to help our mentee Startups armed with data. We ain't entering the hunt without our weapons fashioned from the furnaces  that process Big Data and other streams of Data science and Analytics.

Needless to say, we would want our eminent and extremely knowledgeable Unicorn Hunters and Spotters to be able to use the learning and inferences that our tools and studies and inquisitiveness are throwing up. We don't expect out Dear Unicorn Hunters and Spotters to trust our Data , infact they should not. They should take it with a pinch of salt and evaluate if it helps them because we are seriously grappling with insight that the DRIL is throwing up.

We are learning  that migrant population is migrating to specific cities creating more opportunities only in these pockets.

We are learning that coal in India is going to last for a century at current pace but with 29 Crore  EV vehicles someday , we are going to run through that coal like a knife through butter, unless we build up more nuclear and other electricity sources. The E in EV stands for electricity so someone better make enough of it, right ? So much for the EV rush.

We are discovering that only two states in India are victims  of and most vigilant  in catching frauds compared to other states. We would shudder to send a Fintech Founder in the field without such a knowledge nugget.

We are learning that a lot of Startups would not have been born and become Unicorns had the established players not left their door open. Without taking anything away from the brilliant disruptors, the fact remains that 'the disrupted' in many cases allowed themselves to be disrupted by not reinventing or by not cannibalizing their business or staying too long in love with their cash cows and brands ( some even kept spending less on marketing for years ), to see them being overtaken rapidly  by new kids on the block. Next time your Startup  / your portfolio company / potential investee company is embarking, you better drill down to see which giant is leaving the door open ! 

We are discovering that the circulars that various departments of RBI released between 2014 and 2017 helped create a foundation level clarity in the financial world that helped the FinTech space with much needed clarity about the regulators viewpoint. Next time we see a flurry of circulars from the regulators in any space, we are going to ask the founders from that space to check-in and do a rece in record speed. Fertile investment fields are no state secret, apparently, no pun intended. 

We are learning that there is so much to learn and we are also learning that we really don't know so much individually and even collectively.  We would be keen to know and hear from you whether you are as fascinated and curious about wanting to harness  even more,  the power of data  that we are soaking in, apart from your own sources. We would be keen to share our Data  scribble pads also with our Unicorn Hunters and Spotters if it helps them make even  better and even sharper  decisions as to where to point their capital in a way that  will win them multi-baggers and LP accolades. 

We know DRIL  going to help the Unicorn Hunters and Spotters for sure, we can bet on that but what we wouldn't know is,  how much.  However , we do know that , while we will use our sharpened understanding to help our mentee startups (and we can't keep sending all our Hunters and Spotters, our Data scribble pads without some means of modest monetization) , we would want to make sure we acknowledge with gratitude the support we have received from our Unicorn Hunters and Spotters .

Hopefully, your thank you notes will tell us someday soon.