Shardul has been a great partner and board member. He has real, impactful relationships with each member of our executive teamOlivier Pomel,
CEO and Co-founder of Datadog
Why do the same team of people invest out of both growth and venture at Index?
Shardul — We’re open for business across all stages, and we’re organized around domain expertise. For productivity — be it Series A or pre-IPO — Sarah’s your best partner; for open source, it’s Mike. We’re venture-minded and can be involved as business partners operationally, but we know when to get out of the way. We don’t come with preconceived notions, and because we don’t have separate teams for venture and growth, we don’t have different mindsets within the firm regarding risk tolerance or aversion. We’re focused on supporting our companies in the way that works best for them.
How do you see the future of venture capital playing out?
Shardul — We’re seeing a trend toward this idea of executive briefing centers, but Index doesn’t believe in speed dating. Too shallow. Instead of a high volume of introductions, we focus on delivering highly curated introductions that matter. We don’t consider our portfolio companies to be “customers,” and we haven’t organized a separate services team. We’re completely integrated as a firm to connect the right people. We value relationships and concentrate on individuals, rather than corporate organizations. That’s the direction Index is focused on, now and in the future.
What did becoming a parent teach you about investing?
Shardul — My daughter Anshu is 16 months old, and she has taught me how much communication matters. Recently, she’s been saying ‘no’ a lot, and I’m pretty confident her personality is a little too cautious to be suited for venture capital. As a parent, I find myself constantly looking for paths to 'yes.' She’s taught me about the importance of patience, presence, how to listen and how to respond. It's such a privilege to meet entrepreneurs, and giving feedback like “you are too early” isn't authentic to me because it's not constructive. I hope that finding paths to 'yes' allows me to provide far more constructive feedback. The same goes for Anshu!
Shardul Shah is a Partner at Index Ventures and focuses on security, devops and enterprise software. Prior to Index, Shardul was an associate at Summit Partners. He holds a B.A. in economics and a B.A. in biology, with a specialization in immunology, from the University of Chicago. He currently lives in San Francisco.