Embarked on the journey into the realm of venture capital, Gaurav Manglik, the General Partner at WestWave Capital, possesses a unique narrative rooted in entrepreneurship. His venture capital odyssey commenced with a stint as an entrepreneur, drawing from early roles at tech giants Oracle and VMware.
Gaurav’s entrepreneurial zeal manifested in CliQr Technologies, an early player in multi-cloud management platforms. Raising multiple funding rounds from prominent venture firms, including Foundation Capital and Google Ventures, provided Gaurav with a profound understanding of the venture capital ecosystem. Post-acquisition by Cisco in 2016, he gained insights into corporate perspectives on investing in and acquiring startups.
Transitioning from entrepreneur to mentor, Gaurav leveraged his extensive experience to guide startup founders in crafting compelling business plans and securing funding from top VCs. Recognizing his impact in these early stages of startup formation, Gaurav contemplated a shift to a full-time venture career. Serendipity struck when Warren Weiss, an early investor and board member from Gaurav’s CliQr journey, initiated WestWave Capital. Their established trust and collaboration made joining WestWave Capital a natural and thrilling progression.
Proven Success, Future Collaborations
“WestWave Capital’s vision is both simple and impactful,” declares Gaurav. In today’s ever-evolving landscape, trillion-dollar industries are undergoing radical transformations spurred by technological revolutions. “We’re on the lookout for early-stage tech startups,” Gaurav asserts, “that are crafting the digital building blocks for the modern enterprise.” WestWave Capital is dedicated to supporting authentic founders, those who are domain experts, possess a strong future vision and are committed to creating technologically advanced products, platforms, or solutions. The firm recognizes the challenges of this endeavor, focusing on startups that tackle the fundamental complexities of these innovations. Navigating the currents of industry disruption, WestWave Capital is emerging as a strategic ally, championing the authentic architects of technological progress.
“Our track record and founders’ endorsements speak for themselves,” asserts Gaurav. Positioned as an active investor, he extends an invitation, stating, “We encourage your readers too to talk to us if they have an innovative and transformational idea. We would love the opportunity to have a discussion!”
WestWave Capital, with its proven track record and the backing of satisfied founders, welcomes conversations with those harboring groundbreaking ideas. Seeking a strategic and supportive partner for their innovative ventures, WestWave Capital emerges as an inviting platform for fruitful discussions and potential collaboration.
“Despite being a young firm at just around five years old, our venture at WestWave Capital has been vibrant and impactful,” shares Gaurav. In this short span, the firm has made significant strides, funding over 60 startups, successfully raising two venture funds, and expanding its dedicated team. Gaurav reflects on the true measure of success, noting, “What gives us most satisfaction is when we see our founders grow their startups and realize milestones and exits that they find meaningful, and that we have been able to help them along that journey.”
WestWave Capital takes pride in witnessing the tangible outcomes of its support, evident when founders return for subsequent ventures or become investors in the firm’s funds. Gaurav highlights these moments as significant ‘wins’ in the firm’s brief yet impactful history, emphasizing the deep satisfaction derived from fostering the growth and success of the startups they back.
Trust, Transparency and Value
“As a business, our primary aim is to ‘maximize returns for our Limited Partners, i.e., our investors’ by strategically funding and managing investments in startups,” declares Gaurav. The firm recognizes that the key to achieving this goal lies in effective collaboration with other venture firms and corporate venture arms. Gaurav emphasizes that building successful partnerships requires a foundation of “trust” and a commitment to driving value in the co-investments.
At WestWave Capital, transparency is the cornerstone, as Gaurav notes, “Sharing the good and bad transparently and finding solutions collaboratively with our partners has resulted in earning respect from our peers and finding new opportunities to work on together.” This approach not only fosters respect within the industry but also opens doors to new collaborative ventures aligning with the firm’s overarching mission of maximizing returns and creating lasting value for its investors.
Ahead of the Game
“At WestWave Capital, our focus is on investing in companies that are going to shape the future of enterprise computing,” affirms Gaurav as the forward-thinking leader behind the investment firm. As startup investors, their unique perspective involves consistently anticipating the future by examining the cutting edge of the technology curve well before widespread adoption. This strategic approach positions WestWave Capital at the forefront of innovation, paving the way for early investments in technologies poised to redefine the landscape of enterprise computing.
Funding the Future
“Innovation is at the core of what we do, as we ‘fund innovation – often so disruptive that incumbents are unable to espouse it due to the Innovator’s Dilemma,”‘ explains Gaurav. The firm adopts a strategic and proactive stance on innovation, employing a ‘thesis-driven approach’ to identify groundbreaking opportunities.
Gaurav highlights the methodology, saying, “We look at large technology trends and within those strategic concepts that we predict will change the landscape for the longer term.” These thesis areas, carefully curated through the firm’s own experience, industry knowledge and collaboration with domain experts, guide WestWave Capital in actively seeking startups that align with these visionary concepts. The pulse of innovation in the startup landscape—WestWave Capital emerges as a forward-thinking catalyst, shaping the future of technology through strategic and disruptive investment choices.
Investing in Future Success
“As a VC firm, WestWave Capital recognizes that we serve two customers, our startups and our LPs,” emphasizes Gaurav. The firm operates with a clear understanding that success for startups translates into driving a higher portfolio return for Limited Partners (LPs). Gaurav highlights the firm’s distinctive approach toward startups, noting, “Particularly for our startups, we take a patient approach to helping them.”
Drawing from their experience as former startup operators, WestWave Capital acknowledges the inevitable ups and downs of early-stage ventures, requiring patience, time and persistence to find product-market fit. The firm’s commitment to supporting founders through the challenging initial phases of their startup journey reflects not only the challenges but the immense rewards both for WestWave Capital and the startups they nurture. In the dynamics of VC support, WestWave Capital stands as a patient and dedicated ally in the unpredictable world of startups.
“At WestWave Capital, sustainable growth is not just a goal, but a disciplined approach,” asserts Gaurav. The strategy hinges on two crucial elements, as Gaurav explains, “Firstly, by taking a careful and disciplined approach to investing, we ensure that our investments are right-sized when we initially invest in a company while keeping reserves for potential future investments.” This meticulous investment approach sets the foundation for long-term success.
Gaurav underscores the significance of actively nurturing the firm’s ecosystem and network, stating, “Maintaining a very active ecosystem and network where we are able to access hundreds of new startup companies is our second approach.” This robust network becomes the lifeline for investment opportunities, enabling WestWave Capital to stay at the forefront of innovation and selectively choose the best opportunities aligned with their strategic these areas.
Strategic Investments, Strategic Impact
“At WestWave Capital, our most compelling stories unfold when we see our startups succeed in achieving their milestones,” shares Gaurav. Two shining examples of their impactful investments are Accurics and Spectro Cloud. Gaurav reflects on Accurics, a cloud-security company aligned with their thesis around shift-left security. Within a short period, Accurics validated WestWave Capital’s thesis by being acquired by Tenable, marking a significant shift-left security adoption.
Another success is Spectro Cloud, a pioneer in multi-cloud-and-edge Kubernetes (K8S) management. WestWave Capital’s early pre-seed investment positioned them as key players in driving innovation, introducing concepts like running K8S on bare-metal edge environments and hybrid management of VMs and Containers.
Gaurav proudly notes the enterprise interest in Spectro Cloud, with notable clients like T-Mobile and GE Healthcare, and the recent participation of Qualcomm Ventures in the company’s Series B round. These success stories exemplify WestWave Capital’s commitment to shaping the industry landscape and backing startups that redefine the future of enterprise computing. For readers seeking impactful investment narratives, WestWave Capital stands as a beacon of foresight and achievement in the dynamic world of startup ventures.
Tech, Diversity, Responsibility
“At WestWave Capital, we recognize that with new technologies, there are potential new threats to our society,” acknowledges Gaurav. He underscores the critical investment focus on startups that can harness technology to counter emerging threats. Gaurav highlights a current area of interest, stating, “Currently, we are very interested in startups that may enable socially responsible use of new Gen AI technologies.” The firm places a strong emphasis on social responsibility, extending to the composition of founding teams. Gaurav notes that it is important to social responsibility is also fund founding teams with diverse backgrounds and heritages.
WestWave Capital believes that embracing diversity not only aligns with social responsibility but also enhances portfolio diversification, a cornerstone of sound investment strategy. About the societal implications of emerging technologies, WestWave Capital stands as a proactive investor, dedicated to fostering responsible innovation and diversity within the startup ecosystem.
Resilience in Uncertainty
“The past year, marked by Covid and economic slowdown, posed challenges for many businesses,” acknowledges Gaurav. Even within their portfolio, some companies faced uncertain growth. Gaurav reflects on the firm’s commitment, stating, “We were able to and continue to mentor and guide these startups on the best strategies so that they could continue building innovative businesses while still maintaining a healthy runway, to see them through such times.”
The approach is nuanced and individualized, with Gaurav noting, “On a case-by-case basis, we are able to guide each startup on strategic choices such as raising more capital vs. slowing down cash burn.” WestWave Capital’s dedication to supporting startups through challenging times exemplifies its role as not just an investor but a strategic partner, ensuring the sustained growth and resilience of the businesses it backs.
“At WestWave Capital, we recognize that market dynamics change all the time esp. over shorter terms,” states Gaurav. He navigates the challenges of the ever-changing market by adopting a long-term perspective in early-stage venture investing.
Gaurav emphasizes the firm’s strategy, it often takes years for a startup to go from 0 to IPO, acknowledging the journey involves navigating through market fluctuations and emerging trends. WestWave Capital positions itself strategically by investing in companies driving long-term changes, providing immunity to short-term fluctuations.
Gaurav notes, “We also look for technologies that are adaptable and extensible so that when new trends appear, such startups can easily adapt too.” The firm maintains a balanced approach, ensuring a steady hand at the wheel. Gaurav advises to maintain a steady pace and the curve smoothens out over the long term, illustrating WestWave Capital’s commitment to consistent, measured investment strategies that weather market cycles for sustained success.
Innovation Beyond Investment
“At WestWave Capital, we’re poised for greatness with the companies we’ve invested in,” declares Gaurav. He underscores the firm’s commitment, stating, “Our goal is that as a disciplined and thoughtful investor that is a strategic partner to our startups, we will help build and grow the next generation of foundational enterprise technology companies – the Microsofts, Googles, Ciscos, and Oracles of the future.” WestWave Capital positions itself not just as an investor but as a strategic partner, aiming to play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of future enterprise technology giants.