Naspers, the South African internet and media group popularly known for its investments in PayU and iBibo, is eying even more profitable investments in India. And to do the same, the over 130 countries-broad group has set up a venture arm in India. Yo Indian startups, yet another VC firm !!!! Money ! Money ! Money !
To lead investments, mergers and acquisitions in the country, Naspers has roped in VC veteran Ashutosh Sharma. Before joining Naspers, Ashutosh was with the India team of Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Norwest, prior to which, he was with Qualcomm Ventures.
The VC firm, named Naspers Ventures, also has a significant presence in the US and Singapore. It has set up an office in Bengaluru, and has already started scouting for deals in the market. Currently, the firm is focusing on early to mid-stage transactions ranging from $10 million to $50 million for a minority stake.
It is looking to invest in technology-focused startups in healthcare, education and logistics, besides consumer internet and e-commerce. According to Ashutosh, Naspers Ventures strategy will be to back scalable technology startups, which leverage India’s consumption growth. He told Economic Times:
From a valuation standpoint, this is a good vintage to invest in as they have rationalised. Valuations are not a big concern, but how many consumer scale categories are left to be attacked in India and how quickly we can identify who we want to work with in those categories is the main priority.
Naspers is known for playing a role of an incubation in companies where it acquires more than 90% stake. However, this move signifies a change in the firm’s strategy as it now looks to back local entrepreneurs.
In US, the firm has invested in tech firms Udemy and Codeacademy. In 2016, Naspers made two of the largest consolidation plays in India. Its payment gateway PayU acquired Citrus Pay for $130 million while its travel portal ibibo was acquired by MakeMyTrip in a stock deal worth around $1.8 billion.
Founded in 1915, Naspers is a global internet and entertainment group and claims to be one of the largest technology investors in the world. It operates in more than 130 markets with long-term growth potential. It believes that it builds leading companies that empower people and enrich communities.