Sequoia closes $1.35-billion India venture & growth fund

BENGALURU| NEW DELHI: Sequoia Capital has closed a $1.35 billion India venture and growth fund, the largest corpus by the blue-chip Silicon Valley fund for the region. This comes at a time when the risk capital world has seen major shifts in funding and valuations, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Menlo Park-headquartered fund has received commitments for two India and Southeast Asia-focused funds — a $525 million venture fund and a $825 million growth fund — the first time it has raised two separate funds for growth and venture investments.

Sequoia will now operate investment vehicles across asset classes, such as seed, venture and growth.

This takes Sequoia Capital’s total assets under management for India to an estimated $5.4 billion, spread across the seven funds it has raised till date, and through which it invests in India and across Southeast Asia.

Last year, Sequoia also beefed up its partnership by roping in top Google India executive Rajan Anandan to lead its seed initiative Surge, and Uber’s Asia head Amit Jain to lead the growth team.

Sequoia, an early backer of companies such as WhatsApp, Google, GoJek, and Tokopedia, has been an early investor in some of India’s top companies, including hospitality chain Oyo Hotels & Homes, educational technology leader Byju’s, online food delivery company Zomato, Unacademy, Rebel Foods, Khatabook, MamaEarth and RazorPay — many of which are in the fabled unicorn club, or ones with valuations of more than $1 billion.

“Covid-19 has brought us closer to embracing some hard truths. The startup ecosystem in India and SEA has had a tumultuous journey over the last decade…It’s time to aspire for massively large and profitable companies. It’s time to build more products that can compete globally on quality, not just on price,” Shailendra Singh, managing director of Sequoia Capital wrote on professional networking platform, LinkedIn. “We need more unique and innovative startups, pursuing original ideas in addition to “X of Y” business models,” he wrote in the post published on Monday.

Sequoia’s announcement also comes about seven months after its Silicon Valley peer Accel Partners said it had raised $550 million for its sixth India-focused fund, taking its assets under management in Asia’s third-largest economy to $1.5 billion.

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