Sequoia and Lightspeed, two giants of the venture capital game, have announced new funds for the Indian market as they look to increase stakes in the country’s burgeoning startup market. The two companies have been investing heavily in the country for the better part of a decade now, and have amassed significant pull in its startup industry.
While neither of the two entities disclosed the details of any of these funds, a VCCircle report, citing regulatory findings, ascertain their existence, and that the Indian market should expect cash flow from these VC behemoths very soon. However, since there has been no official announcement, the amount of the funds is still unknown.
While Lightspeed has proposed its third entry in the Indian market, the Lightspeed India Partners III, LLC, Sequoia has decided to double down, quite literally, and floated two new funds. These include its seventh India fund, Sequoia Capital India Venture VII Ltd as well as its India-focused growth fund, Sequoia Capital India Growth Fund III Ltd.
Various media reports over the past couple of months have pegged the size of Lightspeed’s new India fund at $250-$300Mn, with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) proposing to be a large investor. The pension fund had invested in Lightspeed’s previous India fund as well. Sequoia on the other hand, is looking to raise close to $1.25Bn for its India fund, the most money it has ever committed to the Indian market.
Sequoia has been one of the biggest names in the Indian venture capital industry, claiming stakes in Cardekho, CARS24, Mobikwik, Oyo rooms and many more. The company ventured into the early-stage startup scene with its accelerator program ‘Surge’. The third cohort of its India-based accelerator program, with a group of 15 startups virtually kicked off recently. Surge is a “rapid scale-up” program by Sequoia, wherein the VC firm combines $1 million to $2 million of seed capital with company-building workshops, global immersion trips and support from a community of “exceptional founders”.
Lightspeed, on the other hand, is no stranger to the Indian market as well. The firm started its first India-dedicated fund of $135 million in 2015 which turned out to be a great success. In fact, it was so successful that in just a matter of 3 years, the firm launched yet another $175 million worth India-focussed investment vehicle, its second entry in the country.
With the threat of COVID 19 still at large, companies need resources to survive, and with the falling economy, lending is the only option. However, Venture Capital has been affected adversely by the pandemic too, and investments aren’t easy to come by. Thus, at a time like this, funds like these will not only ensure that startup ecosystems do not collapse, but will also push forth new innovation that can make the corona life a little bit easier. But then, ventures with a sustainable business model and solid foundations are likely to be funded, with idea-stage and absurd multi-million investments taking a back seat.
We have reached out to both Sequoia Capital India and Lightspeed India for comments, confirmation and more details. We shall update the story as and when we receive an update.