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Sequoia Capital raises record corpus for India, Southeast Asia investments
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Sequoia Capital said it has received commitments worth $1.35 billion (about Rs 10,030 crore) from its limited partners (LPs) across a venture fund and a growth fund -- both of which will invest in India and Southeast Asia.

This is the largest corpus that the Menlo Park-headquartered venture capital firm has raised focused on the India and Southeast Asia region.

Sequoia India said in a blog post that its venture fund has raised $525 million and its growth fund has raised $825 million.

The venture capital firm in 2018 had said that it had decided to not have separate sector advisory teams but organise itself into growth and venture advisory teams.

Last year, Sequoia India launched a seed fund to sharpen its focus on early-stage investments besides starting an accelerator programme called Surge.

"Sequoia India now operates seed, venture and growth funds, a structure that allows Sequoia to remain a relevant partner for founders at all stages of their journey," the blog post said.

The blogpost added that India and Southeast Asia will become home to a number of massive technology companies during the next decade as the market deepens.

The fundraising announcement comes amid the growing coronavirus crisis that has crippled businesses.

"(But) we believe there is an opportunity to choose a different path. Our ecosystem has arrived at a fork in the road," it said.

The blog post noted that the virus pandemic has already catalysed a massive change in almost every startup’s trajectory and the startups need to build on this Covid-19-induced state of high performance.

It added that while the pandemic has caused a significant course correction, a new bull cycle for tech startups could soon be on its way.

The venture firm has been the most active investor in India. It had closed its sixth fund at $695 million to invest in early- and growth-stage companies in the country and Southeast Asia in 2018.

Sequoia has invested in more than 130 startups in India including unicorns such as Ola, MuSigma and Zomato, though it was not an early investor in any of them and came in at the growth stage.

The venture capital has also invested at the very early stages in many startups, including Citrus, Faasos, FreeCharge, Grofers, Mobikwik, Pine Labs and Practo. 

This is another area where it intended to double down to help the companies’ journey from the idea to the initial public offering stages and beyond.

Other venture capital firms have also raised or hit the road to raise their new funds during the pandemic.

Lightspeed Venture Partners is raising its third India-dedicated fund and has already received commitment from one of its existing LPs.

In May, VCCircle reported that domestic early-stage venture capital firm Stellaris Venture Partners has hit the road to raise a new fund to raise more capital than its debut investment vehicle. 

VCCircle also reported last month that Sixth Sense Ventures was floating its third consumer-focused fund.

In May, venture capital firm Iron Pillar, which provides growth capital to mid-stage technology companies in India, said it had topped up its first fund with $45 million. 

A few venture capital firms such as Blume Ventures and Unicorn India Ventures had also hit fundraising milestones before the pandemic gripped India. Earlier this year, co-founders of Parampara Capital also floated a second fund that seeks to raise $100 million.

In 2019, around a dozen venture capital firms including Accel, A91 Partners and Lightbox that back Indian startups marked the final close of their funds.

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