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Sequoia Capital raises sixth India VC fund, loses another managing director
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Sequoia Capital India on Tuesday said it has closed its sixth fund at $695 million to invest in early- and growth-stage companies in the country and Southeast Asia, where it has made over 200 bets in startups.

However, the celebration over the fund close, which albeit is around a third lower than the reported $920 million it secured in its previous outing, was overshadowed by the announcement of the exit of another of its key executives.

Abhay Pandey, a managing director, has decided to move on, said Sequoia Capital in a statement. “We understand Abhay's decision to chart his own course and are grateful for his contributions,” it added.

Pandey had worked with Sequoia Capital for more than 11 years. He is on the board of 14 healthcare and consumer companies of the VC firm's portfolio, according to its website.

His exit follows the resignation of another high profile managing director VT Bharadwaj, who decided to step down in April after 11 years with the firm. Last June, Gautam Mago, another managing director at Sequoia Capital, had resigned after 10 years.

Bharadwaj and Mago last month joined hands to float a fund—A91 Partners—to invest in privately held small- and mid-sized companies.

In a slightly similar development, in 2016, another venture capital firm Matrix Partners India had raised a fresh corpus of $110 million for a new India-dedicated fund alongside the departure of its co-founder Rishi Navani.

In another instance of a management churn in the industry, Sumit Jain, a partner at Kalaari Capital, has resigned from the firm, while Rajesh Raju, a managing director at the VC firm, may leave, business daily Mint reported on Tuesday, citing three people aware of the development.

Meanwhile, Sequoia India announced key promotions. Abheek Anand, who joined the VC firm from Facebook, has been promoted to managing director. Anand will focus on investments in Southeast Asia, it said. The VC firm has also promoted four vice presidents to principal roles—Ishaan Mittal and Sakshi Chopra will become principals in the growth team, and Ashish Agarwal and Harshjit Sethi will become principals in the venture team, it added.

Sequoia India’s sixth fund

The announcement of the new fund comes a little more than two years after Sequoia Capital India was said to have closed its fifth India-focused fund worth $920 million.

The new fund will invest in the technology, consumer and healthcare sectors.

Sequoia 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 intends to double down to help companies journey from idea to the initial public offering stage and beyond, it said.

The venture capital firm 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.

Over the past 11 years, the venture capital firm has deployed more than $2 billion and exited over 55 firms in India.

Several portfolio companies have had M&A events including GlobalLogic, Star Health, Scio Health Analytics, Prizm Payments, FreeCharge and Citrus. Multiple portfolio companies have also gone public, including Prataap Snacks, JustDial, Ujjivan, Equitas and QuickHeal. 

“We see the pace of these key milestones picking up as more companies reach scale,” said Sequoia Capital.

In 2012, Sequoia India established a presence in Southeast Asia. Its investments there include Go-Jek, Tokopedia and Traveloka, which now rank among Indonesia's largest unicorns.

The region accounts for 20-30% of Sequoia India's investments, by value, and that is expected to continue in the near term, it said.

Sequoia Capital joins a bunch of big and small venture capital firms which have announced fundraising milestones this year.

Last week, multi-stage investment firm Matrix Partners raised $300 million (Rs 2,100 crore) for its third India-dedicated fund.

In the past months, Saama Capital and Lightspeed India Partners also closed new funds, while homegrown venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners had raised 70% of the targeted $450 million in June.

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