Sequoia Capital, the Silicon Valley venture capital company backing some of India’s best-known Internet startups, is looking to raise $800 million in a new fund, the Times of India reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the plan.
Sequoia, which has backed companies including Micromax Informatics, India’s largest local smartphone maker, business listings provider Just Dial and Zomato Media, India’s largest restaurant discovery app provider, will invest the new fund in Indian and Southeast Asian startups, the newspaper reported.
India -- the fastest-growing nation in the so-called BRICS bloc that includes Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa -- with relatively limited direct exposure to the slowdown in China, is becoming an increasingly strong draw for venture capital companies. The country’s smartphone-driven Internet penetration is another factor that is propelling investors to commit billions of dollars to the country’s startup ecosystem.
In May 2014, Sequoia, known for being an early backer of Google Inc. and Apple Inc., raised $530 million to invest in Indian startups, including mobile Internet-based businesses. That took the California venture firm's India-focused funds to nearly $2 billion. The company added another $210 million in April this year, the Times of India reported.
Competition is also rising for good quality investment targets as the venture arms of large corporate companies such as Japan’s SoftBank Corp. have also entered the scene. SoftBank has invested in ventures from local ridesharing providers competing against Uber Technologies to real-estate to solar power projects.
Early-stage venture capital is becoming available at an unprecedented rate in India’s startup hub Bangalore, and funding is moving well beyond software or technology companies into verticals such as education, healthcare, finance and manufacturing.
Other venture capital firms already invested in Indian startups are also planning to raise more money for India-focused funds, the newspaper reported.