Seed investors are an integral part of the startup ecosystem. It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s the single most important reason for the boom in startup growth in India. With only a handful of startups five years ago to thousands of innovative ventures today, we’ve come a long way and investment firms have a rightful place in that. Indian startups are flourishing because of them.
Funding is crucial for companies to scale. Particularly, seed investors identify high-potential companies during the early stages of a company’s growth. These firms are operated by financial and business wizards, and they bring a lot more to the table than just money. If you want to learn more about how seed-stage investing works, click here.
According to MyHQ, more than 650 venture capitalists have shown participation in the Indian startup ecosystem. We’ll be looking at the top 9 investment firms that have made a dent and have helped the landscape thrive. If you’re a startup looking for a seed fund, bookmark this page.
One of the most prominent investment firms in the startup space, Accel (formerly known as Accel Partners) is an American VC firm that specializes in early stage funding. The firm was started in the Valley in 1983 by Arthur Patterson and Jim Swartz. They have funded tech companies like Slack, Facebook, Freshworks, Flipkart, Swiggy, and BookMyShow. They are truly sector agnostic The company has funded over 1400 startups of which they have successfully exited 297.
A well-known name in the industry, Sequoia was founded by Don Valentine in 1972. They invest in both public and private companies, specializing in incubation, seed, and growth stages. Sequoia has invested in over 1000 companies including Apple and Google. In India, they are invested in Byju’s, Zomato, Oyo, Ola, and Mu Sigma, to name a few.
Founded by Karthik Reddy and Sanjay Nath in 2010, Blume aims to bridge the gap between angels and larger institutional investors. They created a fund that is institutionalized in its approach while meeting the pace required by angel investors. They have received several accolades over the years.
Blume has a 93% portfolio presence in India, something unique in this list. They manage over $225M in capital, having funded over 145 startups. They’ve also had 22 successful exits. They have invested in companies like Unacademy, Locus, Invideo, Instamojo, and Cashify.
This Mumbai-based VC helps prepare startups from all sectors for the next stage of funding. It is the first venture fund to invest in early-stage startups using India SAFE Notes. They have around 28 investments (as of writing this) including Clinify India, Quizy, Talkie, and Powerbot.
The Chennai Angels
A home-grown investment firm, The Chennai Angels (TCA) is an early stage venture that develops entrepreneurship, focusing on nurturing and mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. It was founded in 2007 by Ramaraj. They have a total of 53 investments and 4 successful exits so far. Their most recent one was in June 2021 where they helped DropShop Network raise 93 Lakh. They have also invested in Callify, Chai Kings, Infilect, TrulyMadly, and qZense Labs.
Kalaari is one of the most trusted in the VC scene, having been founded in 2011 by Vani Kola. The firm focuses primarily in the technology and eCommerce sectors in their early stages. In addition to providing the startups with an adequate fund, Kalaari also assists entrepreneurs by being on their advisory board. They have invested in SnapDeal, Myntra, UrbanLadder, ScoopWhoop, and more. The firm manages funds in the range of $650M invested in 183 startups. They also have 21 successful exits.
Elevation Capital, formerly known as SAIF partners, was founded in 2004 as a joint venture with Softbank. They are a private equity firm focusing on investments in media, entertainment, and technology firms. They have a colossal $1.9B fund. They have invested in several Indian startups like Acko, Cleartax, Fampay, Meesho, and FirstCry, among many others.
Founded in 1977, Matrix Partners invests actively in India, USA, and China. Matrix Partners India was established in 2006 and they invest across a variety of sectors including consumer technology, B2B, enterprise, fintech, among others. With a massive $1B fund, they have 60+ investments in startups from Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi. They usually invest between seed and series B.
Recently, they invested in Rocketlane and Superops. They have also invested in Razorpay, Crejo, Oziva, and Antwak.
Fidelity Growth Partners (Now Eight Roads Ventures)
This is the private equity arm of Fidelity International Limited primarily focusing on Indian startups. They have rebranded themselves as Eight Roads Ventures.
Starting from 2008. They have invested in several sectors like healthcare, technology, consumer brands, and manufacturing. They typically invest between $10M and $50M for a minority stake in the company. They manage close to $8.8 trillion in assets. They are heavily invested in Cipla, Laurus Labs, Chai Point, Bankbazaar, Toppr, Shadowfax, and many more.
Funded companies can be agile and can grow at a faster rate than their bootstrapped counterparts. Whether funded ones are better is a story for another day and another blog. But, there’s no denying that seed investors put a startup in the hyper-growth trajectory.
If you want to look beyond these VCs, then Startup TN might be the place. We are enabling an innovation-driven economy, helping founders with grants, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Register here to become an insider.