Podcast: Nihar on Ivey Venture, Ep.3

Podcast: Nihar on Ivey Venture, Ep.3
Originally published by Ivey Venture Capital Club here.

About the Episode

Nihar Bobba on Founding Wizely out of University, Execution versus Strategy, Incumbents Versus Startups, Intellectual Honesty, and What it Takes to be a Great VC

Nihar Bobba is currently a principal at Better Tomorrow Ventures ($300+ AUM), one of the leading early-stage fintech venture funds where he was convinced by Sheel, one of the co-founders of BTV, to drop out of Wharton’s MBA program to join the firm full-time. BTV has made investments in leading fintech startups including Unit, Coast, Selfbook, and many more. This is a conversation about Nihar’s story, what motivates him intrinsically, and a little into his world as an early-stage fintech investor. 

“You can obviously have mentors and role models in the investing world, but because there’s no one way to do it, You have to really figure out what it is that makes your investing style your own and really own and build that craft for yourself.”

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Show Notes

[0:00:00] Introduction 

[00:0:31] Nihar’s way into venture

[00:2:52] Was there a culture shock between working in India versus the U.S.?

[00:04:27] What compelled you to build a company, specifically within fintech? 

[00:06:27]  Why did you feel the need to build Wizely?

[00:8:08] What does a CPO do and how was that specific to Wizely? 

[00:11:12] How much of that role was strategy versus execution?

[00:12:15] What are the skill sets needed to do both strategy and execution well – and how do you develop those skills coming out of university? 

[00:14:38] Nowadays, is emphasis weighing more on hiring towards those that execute? 

[00:16:25] What do you think makes the best background for a VC? 

[00:19:30] Why is having empathy so important to you and what advantage does it give you as a VC?

[00:21:30] What are some things you’re learning working in a venture that you didn’t think you’d learn coming into the job? 

[00:26:00] Do you ever feel intellectually dishonest about knowing a little bit about everything, but not a lot about one thing?

[00:30:23] How are you adapting to the changing landscape in fintech today? 

[00:33:37] Why are you so bullish on fintech?

[00:35:12] Where do you think the alpha is within fintech?

[00:38:20] Who wins: a startup with a better product or an incumbent that has distribution? 

[00:40:07] Are there any generative AI applications within fintech?

[00:43:13] How do you develop alpha generative opinions on an industry?

[00:44:49] What do you think about being a generalist versus a specialist within the context of one’s career? Is there a necessity to eventually specialize?

[00:46:18] For business students embarking on their careers at the moment, would you still recommend the traditional new-grad jobs of banking and consulting? Or are there other jobs you’d recommend students consider as well?

[00:47:59] Rapid fire questions for Nihar: What’s one thing not on your resume you’d like people to know? What do you like to do in your free time? What book do you recommend all people to read? For those that want to end up into venture, what advice would you give to them? 

Nihar is a Principal at BTV, which also runs The Mint, the pre-seed program for fintech founders. They accept applications and introductions on a rolling basis. Nihar was also Co-Founder of Wizely.