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Byju's, Oyo-backer Lightspeed gears up to raise 4th India-focused fund

By Joseph Rai

  • 24 Jun 2022
Credit: 123RF.com

Lightspeed, known for its bets on Byju’s, Oyo Rooms and ShareChat, has kickstarted the process to raise its new India-focused fund. 

As per a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the venture capital firm has launched its fourth fund - Lightspeed India Partners IV, LLC. It did not disclose further details. 

The Capital Quest first flagged the development. Earlier in April, Techcrunch, citing unidentified people, said that Lightspeed is looking to raise $500 million for its fourth fund. 

An email sent to a Lightspeed spokesperson seeking details on the fund size and the investment strategy did not elicit an immediate response. 

Lightspeed India's launch of the new fund comes amid fears of a deepening funding winter in the ecosystem due to volatile global cues and mass startup layoffs seen in recent weeks even as a section of the startups continues to get funding and unicorns continue to erupt, albeit at a moderate pace compared to last year. 

Lightspeed India is not alone in launching a larger fund or raising a bigger fund in a bear market this year. Just earlier this week, Matrix Partners India, which has backed unicorns like Ola and Dailyhunt, also kicked off the process to raise a larger fourth fund of $450 million earlier this month Sequoia Capital raised $2.85 billion across a set of funds to continue financing entrepreneurs to invest in Southeast Asia and India. In March, Accel India, an early backer of startups such as Flipkart and Freshworks, raised $650 million for its seventh fund. The following month, Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners) raised $670 million for its fifth India-focused vehicle. 

Lightspeed has been investing for more than 15 years in India with its first bet on online education company TutorVista Global Pvt. Ltd. The Silicon Valley-headquartered investor initially took money out of its global funds before doubling down and launching its first India-specific investment vehicle of $135 million in 2015. In 2018, it added another $175 million with its second India-focused investment vehicle. In 2020, the venture capital firm raised $275 million (Rs 2052 crore) for its third fund. 

In an interaction with VCCircle in January, Dev Khare, a partner at Lightspeed, said that the venture capital firm expects to sharpen its focus on startups in the agritech and healthtech sectors even as it will continue to invest in “enduring” themes like software-as-a-service (SaaS), fintech and edtech. In March, another partner Hemant Mohapatra at the venture capital firm also elaborated about its crypto-related investment strategy in India. 

In February, Lightspeed India formed a dedicated growth team, which is spearheaded by Aditya Sharma, who had joined from private equity firm TA Associates last year. Later in April, Lightspeed India also elevated three of its senior executives as partners to boost its early-stage investment advisory team in a latest development. 

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