Helion Venture Partners, an early-to-mid-stage venture capital firm, has raised over $219 million for its third India-focused fund a few weeks ago, according to sources with direct knowledge of the development. With the current fund, the firm’s assets under management will reach over $570 million across its three India-focused funds.
According to sources, Helion Venture Partners III, LLC has raised the amount from 31 investors although VCCircle cannot immediately determine the final fund size.
While it was earlier indicated that Helion would raise $200-250 million for its third fund, one source said that $219 million might not be the final close of the fund. E-mail queries sent to Helion’s senior managing directors Kanwaljit Singh and Ashish Gupta did not elicit any response at the time of filing this article.
Operating from Gurgaon and Bangalore, the venture capital firm had raised $140 million for its first fund in 2006, followed by another $210 million in March 2008. Investors in those previous funds included university endowment funds, foundations and family offices. While the firm had started out with a focus on outsourcing play, it made multiple bets on India’s domestic consumption story since 2008 and invested in retail and e-commerce start-ups.
Some of Helion’s earliest investments included over half-a-dozen outsourcing firms like Gridstone Research (a financial research platform), Amba Research (investment research and analytics), Anantara Solutions (IT outsourcing company) and UnitedLex BPO (legal process outsourcing firm), among others.
It also invested in online ad network and audience measurement provider Komli Media and online travel services firm MakeMyTrip, which went on to list on NASDAQ and gave Helion a profitable partial exit.
Since its second fund was raised, the firm started investing in non-tech segments like financial services (where it has backed NetAmbit, Equitas and Spandana Spoorthy), education (Global Talent Track, Vienova and Attano), consumer services (YLG, Mast Kalandar and IndiaHomes) and clean tech (Azure Power).
In the past 12-13 months, it announced investments in e-commerce start-ups like LetsBuy.com (electronics goods), Hoopos.com (baby and mother care products), YepMe.com (fashion brand), Exclusively.in (fashion retailer) and RedBus.in (bus ticketing). Only last week, LetsBuy.com has been acquired by Flipkart.com, the largest online retailer in India, in a cash-and-stock deal.
Also, Helion Venture Partners recently made its first investment in the healthcare space, backing Eye-Q Super-Specialty Hospitals.
Limited Partners (LPs) are increasingly looking at venture firms in India as they seek differentiated exposure to General Partners (GPs) in the country and the capital overhang in the private equity space while leveraging the maturing of early-stage ecosystem. Over the past two years, venture capital investments in Indian start-ups have started showing returns and some firms have also shown the ability to become significant players at a global level.
In November last year, Accel Partners raised a new $155 million venture capital fund, two-and-a-half times its predecessor, for seed and early-stage investments in India. Prior to that, Seedfund closed its second fund with a total investment corpus of $54 million. IndoUS Venture Partners raised up to $97.5 million for IndoUS Venture Partners II, LLC, which is said to be targeting $150-175 million.
Recently, Japan’s SBI Holdings, Inc.,backed Nirvana Venture Advisors with a commitment of $15 million. The fund is being anchored by the Patni family and is raising $75 million for investments in early-stage start-ups in the Internet, mobile and electronic payments companies. Several VCs investing from US funds like NEA and Lightspeed Venture Partners are also on the road, while Canaan unveiled a $600 million global fund last month.
A number of seed-stage funds like Kae Capital, Blume Ventures and IncuCapital are also on road for fundraising.