Accel Partners’ Subrata Mitra has joined the list of some of the renowned venture capital investors in world thanks to the early investment bet on Flipkart, the country’s largest ecommerce firm. Mitra figures in the latest Forbes Midas List for top 100 global tech investors.
Although Indian names are not unusual in the annual list, till now bulk of them were persons of Indian origin (mostly US-based VCs). Mitra is one of the rare India-based venture capitalist to be featured on the list. While Mitra came in ranked at 99, Accel’s Silicon Valley-based partner Jim Breyer topped the global list.
Mitra’s name on the list comes on the back of successful investments like e-tailer Flipkart.com and business analytics firm Mu Sigma. When contacted by VCCircle, Mitra said: “Utterly surprised, to say the least! That said, the recognition is attributable to the work that Accel India has done as a team over the years.”
Mitra, along with partner Prashanth Prakash and Mahendra Balachandran, started venture investing back in 2005 after setting up Erasmic Venture Fund with a $10 million corpus. Erasmic merged with Accel Partners, the Silicon Valley based venture capital firm with investments like Facebook and Dropbox, in 2008. Since then the firm has raised two more India dedicated venture funds – $60 million Accel India Venture Fund II in 2008 and $155 million Accel India III in 2011.
Accel Partners has been aggressively investing in the ecommerce space Mitra led the series-A round of $1 million in Flipkart at that time, Accel is now sitting on a multi-bagger with the e-tailer’s most recent valuation at $850 million, reportedly.
While the gains in Flipkart are still notional, one of Accel’s best exits came in Chicago and Bangalore-based data analytics firm Mu Sigma. Mu Sigma was the first investment of Erasmic team (now Accel India) in 2005 when it invested in a seed round and Mitra joined the company’s board. The company has since then raised over $160 million from investors like General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital and FTV Capital. The valuation during its last round in December 2011 was reportedly over $500 million, while a typical seed round valuation is $2-4 million. Accel is believed to have exited when Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic picked a stake in Mu Sigma last year.
Mitra, an IIT Kanpur product, who holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, looks at software, technology & Internet transactions. He started his career at IBM’s prestigious T.J. Watson and Santa Teresa Labs, working in the Software R&D groups.
He then founded Firewhite, Inc., which was acquired by Ubiquio, Inc., and later merged into Mobile Planet. Mitra then headed India operations of US-based Tavant Technologies, a mortgage solutions company which was acquired by privately held Ameriquest Mortgage Capital in 2004.
Since Mitra started out in 2004, the start-up ecosystem has changed dramatically. “The ecosystem is evolving very rapidly; we probably get to see more entrepreneurs now in a month than we would in a year when we started. Also, the quality of the teams & thought processes are maturing quickly as well,” said Mitra.
Indian Party On Midas List
This year’s Midas list included around nine investors who are non-resident Indians (NRIs) or persons of Indian origin (PIOs) including some regulars.
These include: Aneel Bhusri (Greylock Partners – ranked 25), Rob Chandra (Bessemer Venture Partners – 28), Sameer Gandhi (Accel – 33), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures – 34), Neeraj Agrawal (Battery Ventures – 36), Navin Chaddha (Mayfield Fund – 46), Ajay Agarwal (Bain Capital Ventures – 95) and Asheem Chandana (Greylock Partners – 96).
Although inclusion of veteran venture capitalist Khosla hardly came as a surprise but what was interesting is that he was counted in with ‘SKS Microfinance’ as his big deal. The public listed microfinance firm has been in the news for all the wrong reasons and the scrip has lost over 90 per cent of its peak value over the past year or so.