Summary:The startup ecosystem has grown quite a bit in the last few years, thanks to backers such as the Indian Angel Network, Nexus, Helion, The Morpheus, Seedfund, Canaan, SAIF, Lightspeed, Bessemer and Kae Capital.
It's been quite a journey so far covering some of the really good startups and businesses that are shaping the technology industry within India and are impacting customers and clients across the globe as well.
There are a few renowned accelerators and incubators who are going to great lengths to mentor various entrepreneurs. So I think it's time to focus on some of the investors, the VCs, the accelerators and angel investing companies. Essentially the many folks who are making a difference to the great entrepreneurs who are building great products, services and technology.
Here's some of those investment companies specifically based within or quite prominent in the Indian startup circuit, in case you're looking to get funded, or just need an idea of what kind of investors, angel, seed fund, venture capitalist firms are out there in the Indian startup ecosystem. In no particular order here are some really great investors you might want to have a look at.
Started in April 2006, the Indian Angel Network brings together highly successful entrepreneurs and CEOs from India and around the world who are interested in investing in startup/early stage ventures which have the potential of creating disproportionate value. The Network, in addition to money, provide constant access to high quality mentoring, vast networks and inputs on strategy as well as execution. They have a broad spectrum of investment sectors such as Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, Banking, Retail, Telecom and embedded domains, IT products and services, and etc. Some interesting tech startups from their portfolio are Aurus Network, Hashcube, Stayzilla, Consure, WebEngage, Eureka Technologies, Innovize.
Nexus Venture Partners invest in early and early growth stage companies across sectors in India and US. According to their Web site, they typically invest early in the life of the company and in most cases, are the first institutional round of capital. Their investment size ranges up to US$10 million in early/early-growth stage companies. They also have a seed program to support high potential entrepreneurs with breakthrough ideas with investment of up to US$500,000. They also like to participate in follow-on investments at later stages for companies that successfully execute their business plans. Olx (acquired by Naspers), Salorix, Netmagic (acquired by NTT Com), cloud.com (acquired by Citrix), Snapdeal, Komli are some startups which were/are part of their portfolio.
Helion Ventures Partners is a US$605 million India-focused, early to mid-stage venture fund, investing in technology-powered and consumer service businesses in sectors like outsourcing, Internet, mobile, technology products, retail services, Healthcare, Education and Financial Services. Some of the companies they've invested in are Taxiforsure, Makemytrip, Komli, YepMe, shopclues.com, NgPay, Hurix and Netambit.
As rightly mentioned on their Web site, The Morpheus is a "Gang of Startups" started by two experienced and passionate entrepreneurs, that now has 58 active startups and 145+ founders. The Morpheus runs a Startup Acceleration Program for talented, progressive and young startups. The program is designed to guide startups through the most crucial phase of their existence, the first 12-18 months, the phase that is also known as valley of death.
Seedfund is an early-stage venture capital fund, with operations in Bombay, Bangalore and New Delhi. Seedfund was founded in 2006 by Bharati Jacob, Mahesh Murthy and Pravin Gandhi and the team has grown to include Paula Mariwala, Sanjay Anandaram, Sarabjeet Singh, Shailesh Vickram Singh and Tarana Lalwani. All Seedfund team members have been entrepreneurs at some point or the other in their careers. Seedfund has invested in companies such as AFAQS, CarWale, EduSports, Fetise, Level10 Comics, myDentist, Printo and RedBus.
Founded in 1987, Canaan Partners invests in visionary entrepreneurs and provides them the networks, insights and operational guidance required to build high-performance technology and healthcare companies. For 25 years, Canaan's seasoned investment professionals have leveraged their deep domain expertise and extensive industry relationships to help build market-leading companies. They were early investors in some of the world’s leading companies. In India some tech companies they've invested in Cartrade, Bharat Matrimony, AdNear, iYogi, mCarbon and Naaptol.
SAIF Partners India is a leading private equity firm that is currently managing over US$1 billion of investments in India. SAIF Partners makes privately negotiated equity or equity-linked investments in early and growth stage companies across sectors such as consumer products & services, technology, media, telecom, financial services, healthcare, travel and tourism, and manufacturing. They generally make individual equity investments between US$2 million to US$75 million in one or more rounds of financing. Some of their investments in tech/Internet companies in India include, iXigo, Justdial, MakeMyTrip, Homeshop18, Mindtree and inkfruit.com
Lightspeed Venture Partners has invested in direct and cross-border Indian companies since 2004, and has an Indian advisory team with offices in New Delhi. They invest across several stages and sectors in India, with investment sizes ranging from US$1 million to US$25 million.
Bessemer Venture Partners has over 100 years of investing experiencewith investment in web brands like Skype and LinkedIn. In India specifically they see a great opportunity driven by the growth in innovation and middle-class prosperity. Since 2004, Bessemer has invested in more than 24 companies in India and established a 14-person, Mumbai-based team with investment in companies of the likes of Snapdeal and NetAmbit.
Bessemer Venture invests in early stage companies which bring about innovative solutions for the existing gaps in the markets, all backed by a great team capable to execute and build a large business. One of their very interesting investments is ZipDial and other investments include, Mobstac, Myntra, InMobi, Fractal, and Greendust.
Well, these are some of which I've thought of adding up as of now. I've tried to focus on specific companies within India or have a prominent investment and are known to most entrepreneurs. I might have missed out on some, so I'm open to feedback.
Most importantly because in the coming months, I'd also be doing features and writing articles on various Indian investors within the Indian startup ecosystem and giving you my take and perspective after having interviewed or talked to the key members of various organizations. Do stay tuned for that. Until then, if you have any additional suggestions, investing companies, investors, do share them here.
Srinivas is an avid blogger and a technology enthusiast who has worked for a couple of digital/tech startups in India since 2010. He has also worked with a few technology clients dealing with tech startups in India and Asia-Pacific, giving him an insight on the country's startup space. In his spare time he listens to audiobooks, podcasts...
Srinivas Kulkarni doesn't have any shares or investments in any startups or any organization in India. However, he is a full-time employee of Social Wavelength, which is a social media agency headquartered in Mumbai with offices in Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. He is also an independent contributing blogger for Social Samosa, a social media publishing startup in Mumbai. When Srinivas blogs about companies he previously associated with through his employment, he discloses that in each blog entry.