India’s rapidly growing startup ecosystem (and a fund guzzling one as well?) now has a new VC to back them up. A91 Partners, a venture capital fund set up by three former managing directors at Sequoia Capital India, has closed their maiden fund at a whopping $351 million. The fund has exceeded its said target of $250-300 million.
The startups that function in consumer, technology, financial services, and healthcare sectors in India will garner the firm’s attention, said Abhay Pandey, one of the partners at A91 Partners.
The firms’ previous two investments include a ₹70 crores (~$10 Million) in Sugar Cosmetics and a $30 million round currently being undertaken in Hector Beverages, the makers of the popular Paperboat brand of drinks. The firm now set its eye to make mid-stage investments, betting on Series-B and C deals between $10 and $30 million. Besides A91, Mirae Global Asset Management and Iron Pillar plan to invest in firms in this range. As per reports, the fund intends to bet on about 10-15 firms in the early growth or late venture-capital stage of development.
The name A91 might not be too obvious for a first-time listener. It actually is an interesting portmanteau of sorts. 91 stands for the country code of India and A comes from India’s greatest emperor, Ashoka. And voila, A91 Partners came into existence sometime last year with the founders being VT Bharadwaj, Abhay Pandey, and Gautam Mago.
“We are excited about the opportunity ahead of us and look forward to partnering with founders building enduring businesses for tomorrow’s India,” the founding members said in a statement.
“Our role in this development and growth is to partner with exceptional founders to build the next generation of enduring Indian businesses. While fulfilling this role, we aspire to build an enduring, excellent, uniquely Indian investment firm,” they said.
The fund’s LPs include Asia Alternatives, Adams Street, Swiss firm LGT Capital Partners, with some insurance companies and family offices making up for their Indian investors.
The Indian startup ecosystem has seen massive growth. And capital infusion in excess of $7.5 billion in 2018 alone should back this fact. The first quarter of 2019 witnessed a total funding of $3.42 billion across 174 deals. The potential in the market has grabbed the attention of massive VC funds like SoftBank and Tiger Global, which have become rather regular investors in India’s ever expanding list of unicorns.