Global VC veteran Accel, has just casually announced the launch a balloonic new fund, closing the same with a $4Bn corpus. The fund will focus on late-stage investments through its regional centers, that it established during nascent stages of the startup ecosystems, specially in India and Europe.
Nearly four decades old in the venture capital space and easily one of the most seasoned in the business, Accel has backed several Indian success stories, including Flipkart (acquired by Walmart). It also has several Indian unicorns in its portfolio, including the likes of Vedantu, Acko insurance, Freshworks, Swiggy and more.
Talking about the focus of this new fund, Accel says, “This fund is a critical element in our global strategy, and will provide expansion capital to promising companies within our own portfolio worldwide, as well as to aspiring companies that are new to the Accel family”. The fund will also complement the VC’s early-stage and growth-stage funds which focuses on everything from seed to Series A or later rounds.
That this announcement — that too from a name of Accel’s stature — comes at a time when it was much needed, will be an understatement. The global tech economy (or shall we now say overall economy in general) is going through some of the toughest times one has seen. Startup investing space is not isolated to the same, with multiple unicorns and cash-heavy ventures also announcing layoffs to “weather off the storm”. Alarm bells have come in from the likes of Y Combinator and Sequoia, asking their portfolios to brace for a much longer period of economic gloom and uncertainty.
Accel also couldn’t have timed this better. Two of its biggest rivals — Tiger Global and Softbank — are both not having the best of the times. Both have lost significant capital in past investments, and haven’t really been able to build up cash reserves the way Accel has. Take this for instance — only last year, Accel rolled out $3 billion in funds across a $650 million early-stage U.S. fund (its 15th), a seventh early-stage European and Israeli fund that also closed with $650 million. Months back, it announced a massive $650Mn India fund to back its own portfolio as well as continue investing in newer companies.
Accel’s investments over the time, have returned massive windfalls, to not just its LPs, but also those who work for it. Flipkart for example, one of its biggest success stories, sold to Walmart for a record $16Bn, and Accel held the largest investor stake at the time of that sale. Slack is another example, wherein Accel owned nearly 24% when it went public.