Exclusive: From Starting-up in Silicon Valley to Investing in the Indian Capital, Kunal Khattar Knows Where the AdvantEdge Lies

The Delhi-bred Kunal Khattar is better known as Jagdish Khattar’s son who helped Maruti reach new heights in India but that's not just it. Kunal Khattar is the emerging investor based out of Delhi who is revolutionizing the transportation industry albiet a little differently.

An experimentation guy, Kunal studied in Delhi till his post-graduate degree and started his career with SR group to launch their mobile services. It won’t be wrong to say that he witnessed the seeds of the data revolution being sown, with the SR cell phone becoming Hutch and then finally turning into Vodafone.

Post that stint, he decided to go to Kellog School of Management in the US where he immediately became obsessed with technology at the time when the dot-com boom was about to happen. Newly graduated from Kellogs, he had two options- to move to Seattle and work with Microsoft or work with a digital strategic consulting company called IXL, he chose the latter.

A Series of Busts

The consulting firm helped businesses start their e-commerce shops in the bay area and the Silicon Valley became Khattar’s home for the next two years.
When the bust happened, Khattar recalled that it was the first time he had seen a company scale up rapidly only to come down.
The next bust he saw during his ten years residence in the states was the financial crisis in 2008.

This entrepreneur cum investor's first startup was with a professor from Stanford, and they managed to raise $ 1 million from small investors but it failed because it was technology ahead of its time as the use-case very small.

Learning from that experience for Khattar was that good technology needs to be timed well to be able to succeed and the importance of product-market fit. “You learn more from your successes than your failures,” says the effervescent Khattar who believes in adding new skills every five years.
Khattar moved to LA next in 2001 where he finally found some success with a pharma company where again, he took charge of the business side of things. In 2005, the company was sold and Khattar saw his first successful exit as an entrepreneur.

For Khattar, two things mattered at every point in his career, one that he was interested in what he was doing and rising from the chaos of a startup to find learning, whether it is successful or not.

Starting up with Investing

His journey in investing started with the New York-based firm who had acquired his company, called Aptuit Inc which had a $700 mn corpus. Khattar proved instrumental for the privately held firm where he had lead strategic investments at a $100 million valuation.

His homecoming started when he decided to put his investing lens over India and his father, Jagdish Khattar quit Maruti. Encouraging his father to start up, the two Khattars started Carnation in 2009 and have not looked back since.
Kunal Khattar was still investing in start-ups when he decided two years back to get completely immersed in angel investing with AdvantEdge Partners where he helps early stage start-ups to get incubation and invest in middle-stage start-ups.

His life has seen many ups and downs but Kunal is determined that the rollercoaster isn’t stopping anytime soon.