Valley-based early stage investment firm 500 Startups has finally announced an investment fund focussed on India and including SriLanka and Bangladesh. The $25 million fund named 500 Kulfi will be sector agnostic but the company would be looking closely for potential startups from sectors such as FinTech, EdTech, Health & Wellness, Data Analytics, Content and SaaS/SMB.
We’re excited to announce our latest regional fund focused on India including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 500 Kulfi will be a $25M fund focusing on early stage companies with product-market fit and demonstrated traction,
read the official blog post by Pankaj Jain, a Partner at 500 Startups who will be looking after 500 Kulfi.
And why the name 500 Kulfi, you wonder? Pankaj attributes the name to the sweet looking conditions in India for startups and investment.
He pointed towards the conditions such as 67% increase in private equity investment in India reaching $21 billion; 7.6% expected GDP growth which is the faster than any other global economy; second-largest Internet population in the world after China; and increasing smartphone users.
We’ve a very large and young population, with more disposable income available and that amount is growing faster than anywhere else and global investors are taking notice and pouring money into Indian startups, “
There have been rumors since last year about 500 Startups planning for an India-focussed fund called Startupwallah which was set up in March last year and was supposed to be launched in the middle of the year.
However, that did not happen and last month, there was a report about the company reconsidering its decision for the same due to lack of funding and slowing down of investments.
Pankaj too admitted about the slowdown in investments and the so-called “doom and gloom” affecting startups and unicorns equally but believed that the long-term opportunities remain solid as ever.
While some good companies may have a harder time raising money this year, others will find it easier to get great talent. Some consolidation and stepping back from irrational exuberance is a good thing,
noted Pankaj further hoping to continue to find value in many verticals across India.
500 Startups invested in over 20 startups last year and over 50 companies since 2011 in India. These include companies like ZipDial(acquired by Twitter), SourceEasy, Pricebaba, Walletkit, Instamojo, CultureAlley, SilverPush, KartRocket, and Headout.
Globally, it has invested in over a 1,000 startups across 50 countries with specific focus on growth markets such as India, Mexico, and Brazil.