US-based venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners, which has been investing in India since 2006, has raised a new dedicated India fund with a corpus of $220 million, the first such country specific ever raised by the firm, said two senior executives of the firm in an interaction with Mint.
The new fund comes at a time when the Indian startup ecosystem has seen a fundamental shift following the pandemic and has Indian startups have raised record breaking sums of capital this year. Just in 2021, India has seen the creation of 41 new unicorns (startups worth over $1 billion) so far.
The fund will focus primarily on early-stage investments, consistent with Bessemer’s approach of starting with seed and Series A investments and sticking with companies throughout their growth lifecycle with later stage investments. Bessemer plans to apply its roadmap-driven investment approach to deploy the new capital over five roadmaps across consumer internet and cloud software, including marketplaces, digital health, social commerce, vertical and global SaaS, they said.
“We’ve always had a global investment approach and India has long been a focus for us. This new capital allows us to go deeper in the market, while continuing to support our portfolio with Bessemer’s global network and resources. The dedicated fund exemplifies our confidence in the massive growth opportunities within India,” said Vishal Gupta, partner and managing director of the firm’s Bangalore office. “We are excited to not only continue supporting the many companies with whom we already partner, but to expand our investments to even more innovative entrepreneurs who are shaping the future.”
So far, Bessemer has invested almost $700 million in India in more than 50 portfolio companies, he said.
Besides the dedicated India fund, Bessemer will also continue to back Indian startups through its global pools of capital, added Gupta. Bessemer’s mandate allows it to write cheques from $1 million to as high as $50 million, he said.
In tandem with its India fund, the firm has also appointed Nithin Kaimal as chief operating officer of Bessemer’s Bangalore office, where he’ll oversee operations, portfolio services, and fund governance. He brings nearly 20 years of expertise across private equity, management consulting and startups, and joins Bessemer from VixCap, an investment management firm he founded and led. Prior to VixCap, Kaimal was senior director at India Resurgence Fund.
The firm is also looking to expand its investment team in India.
“India represents a trillion dollar digital opportunity across consumer internet and SaaS as we predict 500 million more people will engage and transact online in the next ten years. Through this new fund we will continue to partner with the best entrepreneurs who are looking to build for this opportunity within India and beyond,” said Bessemer partner Anant Vidur Puri.
Bessemer’s investments in India include startups such as PharmEasy, BigBasket, Swiggy, Urban Company and Perfios. The venture capital firm has seen seven IPOs from its India portfolio including Home First Finance, IEX and Matrimony.com, and today has five companies within its portfolio valued at more than $1 billion, including Livspace and MyGlamm.