Montgomery Summit, VC hotspot, opens up in pandemic year


America’s changing equation with China was what led venture funding to move to India and people are “piling money” into companies in India, according to Sumant Mandal, co-founder of March Capital which hosts the prestigious annual Montgomery Summit.

March Capital, one of the largest venture capital funds with $1billon under management, is hosting the two-day 18th Montgomery Summit on March 3 and 4.

The prestigious annual Southern California summit is usually a by invitation only, tight-knit conference. This year, it has gone virtual due to the pandemic and has decided to make it open and free so that more and more entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, investors and thought leaders can attend and share a deep passion for innovation.

The majority of presenting companies will be clustered into 16 blocks by industry sector, such as “Frontiers of Cybersecurity,” “Intelligent Automation,” “Cloud Infrastructure,” “Real-Time Payments,” “The Re-invention of the Bank,” “Re-inventing Supply Chains,” “Optimizing the Data Layer,” “The Future of Food,” and others.

Additionally, the summit will highlight a number of transformative market-leading companies in a fireside chat format with moderated Q&A from the virtual audience. These companies include ASAPP, Forter, Freshworks, Rubrik, Qumulo, ThoughtSpot, Snyk, and Unqork.

In an interview with indica News, Mandal (in photograph above) who first invested in India in 2007 in BillBook, sounded very bullish about global capital flowing to Indian companies. 

“China’s equation with the US… definitely changed but at the same, there were very large notable exits in India like Flipkart to Walmart and Reliance Jio raising tons of money. Suddenly the world opened up and said there is something to be done,” he said.

What is going on in the past 12 to 18 months in India, I have not seen it happening in the last 13-14 years that I have been investing in India. And people are piling money into companies.

It started with Flipkart, Walmart poured in $16 billion and bought 77 percent share in the e-commerce company, and now the pandemic has made the companies go through the roof,” he said.

“One of my panels at the summit is about Indian companies accessing the global capital market.”

As an example, Mandal said that the Umesh Sachdev-founded Uniphore Software Systems was incubated at IIT Madras. It uses AI on conversation on voice in real time. The company has an office in California.

He also cited the fintech company BillDesk — founded by Ajay Kaushal, a speaker at the conference — and Shiprocket and Cartrade.

If you look back 20 years ago, it was very difficult for Indian companies to access [global] capital,” said Mandal.

About the Montgomery Summit, Mandal said around 110 companies would be presenting to investors.

And 10 of those would be our portfolio companies and companies that we are interested in having a conference with. We want to invest in them and the companies that are going to present are picked by a panel of VCs; we don’t pick them. And they [the VCs] invite them [the companies] and in general between 110 and 120 companies present every year.”

The summit will host The Female Entrepreneur program for leaders in technology on Wednesday, March 3. The event will recognize, support, and celebrate female leaders.

Virtual attendees will include entrepreneurs, C-level executives, and partners at leading venture capital firms. The program includes keynote talks from Ruzwana Bashir, Founder & CEO,, and Alexa von Tobel, Founder & Managing Partner, Inspired Capital.

.“There is a lot of elements to run in this conference but it’s really is focused to run on technology, entrepreneurship, venture funding and relation with large corporates,” Mandal said.

There will be over 100 funding companies that will attend…. We never invest alone and we co-invest. So, it’s an open forum,” he added.