Dallas’s Naya Ventures Targets Investments in Telecom Startups
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a Seattle location-sharing mobile service; and Altia Systems, a video and Web collaboration software provider based in Cupertino, CA.
Still, it’s nurturing the telecom ecosystem in Dallas that is closest to Puskoor’s heart.
“I had so many people, when I was raising capital at JP Mobile, big VCs who wanted me to move to the Bay Area,” he says. “But Dallas grows on you and it’s a good place to live. I wanted to raise my two boys here. It’s a great place with engineering talent.”
Here are some more highlights from our conversation:
Xconomy: What is your goal with Naya? Why specialize in mobile?
Dayakar Puskoor: When I was starting to invest my own money, and friends and family money, I was not able to scale. But we have good connections within these companies in the telecom ecosystem. We can help portfolio companies in strategy and business development. If a company comes to us only for the cash, we don’t invest. We do a lot of legwork and evaluate companies. We were able to get bigger VCs to invest with us. With Boxfish, we put in half a million and then T-Venture came in with $3 million.
There is a lack of funds in mobile cloud and big data emerging tech, and very few people have expertise in these areas. We can help these companies with what to do, what not to do, and connect them with the right partners. A startup needs more than cash; it needs help to grow the company. We are able to help the company find the right people, make sure the strategy and messages are right. We helped Glympse with Samsung [for example]. The Glympse app is going to go on every Samsung wearable device. We are getting these first and second partnerships and getting others VCs to co-invest with us.
X: How would you describe the Texas VC market right now?
DP: It’s totally dried out. We used to have a pretty good VC presence here: Hunt Ventures, Sevin Rosen, InterWest. After telecom died, these VCs didn’t raise next funds. Money dried up. Two years back, I felt that we needed to start the ecosystem again. I also got involved with local organizations like TiE [The Indus Entrepreneurs] to make sure to start nurturing telecom entrepreneurs. I am seeing lot more activity here in incubation and acceleration here with the [Dallas Entrepreneur Center]. We’re not Silicon Valley, but I’m encouraged that there is a lot of activity happening here now.
We were able to convince our investors that having a mix of California and Seattle helps nurture the Texas investment. I’m happy to say … Next Page »
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