The verdict is clear. Technology and IT sector continue to be an all time favourite of venture capital firms, if the list of top VC investments in 2010 is a pointer. Two of the top five companies
attracting venture capital funding raised money in their follow-on deals (Series C & D) and three of them were related to IT sector, according to data from VCCedge. All the big VC deals were in the $10-million plus range. Check out which firms raised the most and what makes them tick:-
iYogi: Raising more money from existing investors is one thing and making shareholders cough up more in the same year twice is quite a feat. The remote consumer technology support company iYogi raised $30 million for its series-D round of funding, two weeks ago, led by Sequoia Capital India. Early this year, it had raised $15 million in series C funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson (that also participated in latest round) earlier this year. The Gurgaon-headquartered firm that is planning an IPO in 2011 (that could even come up through a US listing) will use the new funds raised to expand services outside the existing consumer market and the Windows Operating System platform.
Aryaka Networks: The US-based provider of the world’s first cloud-based application acceleration and WAN optimization solution raised $14 million including Series A funding from Nexus Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Stanford University. The two-year-old firm headed by Ajit Gupta (owner of Speedera Network which was acquired by Akamai for more than $500 million) is banking on growing demand for WAN Optimization that is
projected to reach $4.27 billion globally by 2014.
Agni Property: Many private equity firms have burnt fingers with investment in real estate space but some VC firms pulled a smart one to get an exposure to the sector without picking up the riskier side of the business. Real estate transaction services firm Agni Property Group raised $12 million from Silicon Valley based venture capital firm Foundation Capital and India based Helion Venture Partners. Delhi-based Agni Property Group partners with property developers in various cities for selling mainly new properties and charges a commission on the asset value of the property. With the new cash it also plans to enter broker housing finance for buyers as an extension of its existing business.
Webaroo Technology India: A group company of Webaroo Inc (an offline mobile search service provider in the US) that runs SMS GupShup, a mobile group SMS service platform, raised $12 million in Series D round led by US-based Globespan Capital Partners besides participation of existing investors Charles River Ventures and Helion Venture Partners. It plans to utilise the money for global expansion, starting with emerging markets that have a high mobile adoption. It also intends to roll out new features such as mobile CRM solutions for small businesses and corporate brands. Two years ago it had raised $11 million in Series A funding from Helion Ventures and Charles River Ventures. It says it has over 2 million SMS communities in categories ranging from finance, entertainment, business, news, education, spiritual and health and claims it accounts for 5% of all text messages sent in India.
NetAmbit InfoSource & e-Services: India's largest financial third party products distribution company, NetAmbit InfoSource & e-Services Pvt. Ltd., raised Rs 50 crore ($11 million) in a second round of funding led by Helion Venture Partners earlier this year to fuel its growth. Bessemer, which invested in the company in 2007, has also participated in this round by investing Rs 10 crore. The firm acquired in personal finance portal Rupeetalk.com, which is backed by early stage investor Seedfund, in December 2 10. The deal would help NetAmbit start internet enabled model to generate and complete leads. NetAmbit has grown from just 13 to 140 locations between FY06 & FY09 and increased the amount of business sourced by 12x in the past 3 years.