Sequoia Capital to split India investment team into venture and growth
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Venture Capital firm Sequoia Capital India is splitting its investment team into venture and growth verticals in line with a strategy it follows in the US and China.

"The line between consumer, healthcare and technology companies continues to blur," Sequoia Capital India managing director Shailendra Singh told VCCircle. "Tech companies e.g. in online retail have physical stores now and consumer/healthcare companies are increasingly digital and reliant on deep tech... At the end of 2017, we decided to not have separate sector advisory teams but organise ourselves into growth and venture advisory teams."

Singh said the India market has now evolved to a point where there is depth in the growth equity market, and "we have staffed ourselves in a manner consistent with our teams in the US and China, where the markets are deeper," he added.

The Economic Times was the first to report the development.

The venture investment team will make early-stage bets and will be led by Mohit Bhatnagar while the growth team will be headed by GV Ravishankar, The Economic Times reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

Singh, however, refuted the ET report and said that Sequoia follows a shared leadership model globally and all managing directors have the same title. He said that in addition to himself, the India and Southeast Asia business is collectively led by Abheek Anand, Bhatnagar, Shailesh Lakhani, and Ravishankar.

Bhatnagar and Ravishankar, managing directors at Sequoia Capital India, have been with the multi-stage investment firm since its launch in the country in 2006.

According to Sequoia’s website, Bhatnagar is on the board of 16 companies including online restaurant discovery and food delivery company Zomato and cloud-based business software firm Freshworks. Ravishankar is on the board of 15 companies including digital ed-tech venture Byju's and food-tech firm Faasos.

Sequoia is also bringing on board Tejeshwi Sharma, investment manager for Chinese tech firm Tencent in India, the report said.

The reorganisation of Sequoia’s team comes on the back of key executives leaving the firm in the past few months.

In August, Sequoia said Abhay Pandey, a managing director who had been with the firm for more than 11 years, decided to leave.

On the same day, Sequoia had said that it 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.

Pandey’s exit was preceded by the resignation of another high-profile managing director VT Bharadwaj, who decided to step down in April after 11 years with the firm. In June last year, Gautam Mago, another managing director at Sequoia Capital, had resigned after 10 years.

In July this year, Bharadwaj and Mago joined hands to float a fund—A91 Partners—to invest in privately held small- and mid-sized companies.

In August, Sequoia had also announced key promotions. Abheek Anand, who joined the firm from Facebook, was promoted to managing director. Anand will focus on investments in Southeast Asia, it said.

It 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.

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.

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