Shardul has been a great partner and board member. He has real, impactful relationships with each member of our executive team.Olivier Pomel,
CEO and Co-founder of Datadog
Shardul joined Index in 2008. He focuses on security, cloud infrastructure and enterprise software. He is a director or observer of Attack IQ, Brightback, Castle Intelligence, Coalition, Datadog (NASDAQ:DDOG), Evervault, Expel, Gatsby, and Wiz. Shardul was previously a director of Adallom (Microsoft), Sourceclear (CA Technologies), Koality (Docker), Lacoon (Check Point), Base (Zendesk), Iterable and an investor in Duo Security (Cisco). After graduating from the University of Chicago, Shardul worked with Summit Partners where he focused on healthcare and internet technologies.
Why does 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 fintech — be it Series A or pre-IPO — Mark'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— When my daughter Anshu was 16 months old, she taught me how much communication matters. She had been saying ‘no’ a lot, and I’m pretty confident her personality was 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!