Drawing new investors for climate tech in India


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Image courtesy of Sangam Ventures

Collaborating on strategies to connect new investors

Sangam Ventures, an emerging climate venture fund, rebooted its marketing strategy to draw new investors with community-centered solutions in India with the support of an Autodesk pro bono team.

Targeted support for India’s climate entrepreneurs

Sangam Ventures, an Autodesk Foundation investee, is a venture fund that invests in startups and technology solutions that help underserved communities in India become more resilient to climate change. In addition to investing in and working with its portfolio companies, Sangam runs India’s first and only cleantech incubator.

India’s energy grid, agricultural sector, and water supply face severe threats due to a warming climate. Sangam’s mission is to inspire entrepreneurs and investors to tackle these crises, enabling widespread change that will create inclusive and resilient communities.

Entrepreneurs meet in India

Image courtesy of Sangam Ventures

Developing a public-facing presence

Since 2016, Sangam Ventures has invested $1.5 million in seven startups that have gone on to secure another $6 million in capital. Developing its current portfolio, a diverse group focused on transitioning to clean energy, strengthening the agricultural sector, and developing a circular economy has taken the bulk of Sangam’s time and energy.

Sangam’s leadership team knew they needed to develop a stronger public-facing presence to draw more investors into the climate tech space in India, but Sangam lacked the resources and time to build and execute a comprehensive marketing strategy.

To complicate matters, investors often have a poor understanding of what’s most important when it comes to climate change and climate tech, often deferring to market sentiment–simply investing where other firms have decided to invest–rather than putting capital towards organizations and technologies with solid track records and data-supported solutions.

Som Narayan of Carbon Masters’ Malur poses for a photo

Image courtesy of Sangam Ventures and Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India

A customized marketing 101 course

An Autodesk pro bono team of three marketers did a deep dive with Sangam to understand its vision, mission, strategy, and market, and how each piece fits together.

The pro bono team then provided what Sangam Founder, Karthik Chandrasekar, described as “a customized Marketing 101 course,” guiding Sangam through evaluating its brand personality, developing a clear value proposition for investors, and building a marketing strategy with a two-month action plan.

Autodesk Product Manager, Chaitra Somasundar, says that, as an Indian woman, working with Sangam to embed gender equity and women’s empowerment into its marketing strategy was particularly meaningful.

Entrepreneurs smile and admire solar panels

Image courtesy of Sangam Ventures

Working smarter, not harder

Sangam hired marketing and communication consultants in the past, but lacked a comprehensive strategy. Through the pro bono project, Sangam received marketing materials, but also learned how to think like marketers.

“The pro bono team was coaching us, giving us homework so we could read up and have discussions about how to incorporate these big ideas into our strategy and day-to-day work,” says Chandresakar. “Now, when we are participating in an event, we’re always asking ‘is there something we want to share beyond just his forum?’ We’re always thinking about investment ideas; and now, we’re always thinking about marketing ideas.”

After this project, Sangam has a clearer understanding of what marketing work the team can do itself, what to hire out, and how to evaluate progress towards its goals of bringing new investors into the climate tech space. Sangam is already implementing new strategies to build towards earned and owned media opportunities.

“In just a month and a half, we’ve already improved our presence and engagement across all of our communications channels.”

Karthik Chandrasekar, Founder, Sangam Ventures