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Venture Catalysts quickens exit pace in 2019 but deal volume little changed
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Startup incubator and accelerator Venture Catalysts said its network of high-net-worth individual investors struck 60 investment deals and 27 exit transactions in 2019.

The individual investors committed a total of Rs 117 crore ($16.39 million at current exchange rates) through these days, Mumbai-based Venture Catalysts said in a statement. This amount was part of a larger sum of Rs 563 crore that Venture Catalysts facilitated during these deals.

This compares with 59 investments totalling around Rs 73 crore in 2018. Overall, the incubator facilitated Rs 252 crore in total investments for startups during these transactions.

Venture Catalysts also said that 2019 marked the largest number of exits for the incubator since its inception in 2015; it had made only three portfolio exits in 2018 and none prior to that.

The organisation was set up in December 2015 by Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Anuj Golecha, Anil Jain and Gaurav Jain. It says its network has cumulatively invested Rs 273.4 crore since its inception, and that it has facilitated a total of over Rs 1,000 crore for 171 startups. It usually invests between $250,000 and $1 million in early-stage startups.

“Venture Catalysts identified the investment potential among HNIs from small towns who, till a few years ago, invested only in stock markets and real estate. But, since the subprime crisis of 2008, this category of investors was looking for a new class of assets that could give them better ROI [return on investment],” Sharma said.

The incubator says it focusses on entrepreneurs from Tier-II and Tier-III cities, with startups funded by it directly employing over 2,100 people. Institutions it has partnered with include technology giant Google, Axis Capital, Amalthea Capital and Jade Value.

In August, it floated a fund, the 9Unicorns Fund, with a corpus of Rs 300 crore to help early-stage startups expand their business. The fund will typically invest Rs 60 lakh for a 5% stake in a startup, and may put in an additional Rs 3-5 crore in subsequent funding rounds depending on a company’s ability to meet its growth objectives.

In November, the incubator invested an undisclosed sum of money in WonDRx, a startup that seeks to bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers through a data-driven approach. In October, it took part in a $500,000 seed funding round in online dermatology solutions provider Remedico.

In July, Venture Catalysts invested in Pariksha, a startup which helps aspirants prepare for government exams in their regional languages. It also put an undisclosed sum in Vested, an investment platform enabling Indian investors to invest in the US stock market.

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