India is seeing a year of venture capital investing unlike any other, and the firms leading that charge are some of the biggest spenders in that world.
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A look at Crunchbase data reveals Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital India and Accel have led or co-led the most funding rounds in the country through the first three quarters of this year—rounds that have totaled more than $3.5 billion.
India is coming off one its most successful quarters ever in terms of venture capital investments. In the third quarter alone, companies in the country’s growing tech ecosystem saw $16.2 billion invested, putting it on pace to top $35 billion this year—surpassing the record-setting $33.8 billion it saw last year.
That level of investment has brought big names to the party. While Sequoia Capital India’s numbers actually are below that of the last couple previous years—where they led or co-led 24 and 28 rounds, respectively—Tiger and Accel seem to be doubling down in the region. Accel has led or co-led a dozen rounds through the year’s first three quarters, matching its combined total for the last two years in the region.
Tiger also seems likely to surpass the combined number of rounds it led in India in the last two years—18 in 2019 and only 5 last year—with 21 rounds already led or co-led for the year.
Let’s talk money
While Tiger, Sequoia Capital India and Accel led or co-led the most number of rounds, it was another big name—SoftBank—which led the most valuable rounds with its Vision Fund 2. While it only led six rounds, those rounds totaled nearly $6.1 billion. Those included:
- Co-leading a $3.6 billion investment in online shopping website Flipkart in July; and
- Co-leading a $1.3 billion Series J in on-demand food delivery company Swiggy, also in July.
Joining in early
While it comes as little surprise firms like Tiger and SoftBank’s Vision Fund have floated big checks often for later growth rounds, it also is interesting to examine who is investing in some of the early rounds in India’s evolving startups ecosystem.
Venture capitalists who look at India have talked about how the country has a maturing tech scene, which is why more companies are growing to a size to be able to go public and why 17 new unicorns were minted this year alone—more than any other year before and surpassing the total of the last two years combined.
With India producing more unicorns and viable exit options now more open than ever, it would seem logical many investors would like to get into some of these startups at a relatively early stage.
Crunchbase data shows Sequoia Capital India again is a leader in that area. Through three quarters, the firm has led or co-led a dozen Series A or B rounds, totaling more than $329 million. That firm is followed by Tiger, India’s Elevation Capital, Accel and Warburg Pincus, who led earwear audio-tech brand boAt’s $100 million Series B in January.
Placing the most bets: Who has invested in the most total rounds in the last three years? Well, it’s Sequoia Capital India again. The firm leads the way with 140 investments, followed by India’s Venture Catalysts at 133, and Y Combinator at 121.
So far this year, Y Combinator also has invested in the most rounds at 51, followed by both India’s Titan Capital and—yes, again—Sequoia Capital India at 41 each.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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