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Sequoia Capital India floats seed fund
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Sequoia Capital India, which launched its startup accelerator and incubation programme called Surge to make early-stage investments earlier this year, has floated a separate seed fund.

Sequoia Capital India Seed Fund I Ltd, which is registered in Mauritius, is expected to raise the fund within a year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It did not disclose the amount it is looking to raise.

An email sent to Sequoia seeking comment on whether the seed fund will complement its Surge programme or managed separately did not yield a response till the time of filing this article.

The Surge programme, which was launched in January, aims to recruit 10-20 early-stage startups in two cohorts in a year and invest $1.5 million in each of them at an early stage of the programme. Surge led an investment in Gurugram-based education technology startup DoubtNut in April.

Sequoia hired Google's Southeast Asia and India vice-president Rajan Anandan as its managing director to focus on developing Surge earlier this year.

The Economic Times, citing unidentified people, had reported in April that Sequoia's seed fund would look to raise $150-200 million.

The launch of the seed fund underlines Sequoia's strategy to sharpen its focus at different stages of investment.

The venture capital firm, which has invested in more than 130 startups in India including unicorns such as Ola, MuSigma and Zomato, had in October last year split its investment team into venture and growth verticals in line with a strategy it follows in the US and China.

In August last year, the firm closed its sixth India fund at $695 million to invest in the country and Southeast Asia. The new fund will invest in the technology, consumer and healthcare sectors.

Sequoia’s launch of the seed fund is good news for startups in India as deal volume has fallen from the highs of the boom year of 2015 even as a bunch of domestic early-stage VC firms have emerged in the market. Still, investors argue that 2015 was a one-off year and they have become more selective in their investments now.

Domestic early-stage VC firms which are on the road to close their new funds include Blume Ventures, Endiya Partners and India Quotient.

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