#Asia Indian startups hog VC attention in Asia in 2015

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Sequoia Capital tops the list with 77 investments in Asia, of which 49 were made in Indian startups

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Of 313 investments made by VC funds in Asia in the year, over half or 182 to be precise, were in Indian startups. That about sums up the VC interest that India hogged in 2015.

A quick look at the same activity a year ago in 2014: Top 10 VCs made 308 investments in Asia, 69 were in Indian firms, according to the Investor Leaderboard by Crunchbase.

Despite the murmurs of slowdown and caution, to the extent of being called a “startup bubble” , the figures indicate a healthy, if not growing, investment climate.

Here’s a list of the top 10 investment firms, according to the number of investments made in Asia in 2105:

1. Sequoia Capital

This US-based fund has topped the list in the number of investments made in Asia, again. However, the number of investments by Sequoia Capital has gone up substantially to 77 this year from 55 in 2014. This also translates into the number of investments made in India, which have increased to 49 from 15.

The quantum of investment however, paints a different picture. Despite the large number of investments made in India, Sequoia’s funding participation ticket size remained in the comfortable range of US$1 million-US$30 million. It participated in investments of more then US$50 million only in a handful of deals, with the largest being US$100 million funding in the Series B round of Oyo Rooms.

The largest investment participation in Sequoia in Asia in 2015, was US$630 million in Chinese food-delivery startup Ele.me, in which it was also a part of a US$350-million funding round in January.

Another Chinese startup, this time an electric vehicle maker NextEV, also saw Sequoia’s participation in its US$500-million funding round.

Also Read: 10 biggest Asian funding rounds of 2015

2. 500 Startups

The venture fund still maintains a low profile in the Indian investment circle. Of 45 investments it has made in Asia to date, only five were in India. Last year, 500 Startups invested in 39 funding rounds by Asian startups, of which only four were Indian firms. Among those were a US$6.5-million investment in CultureAlley and US$2 million in POPxo.

Dotted with a number of sub-US$1 million investments during the year, the largest made by 500 Startups was US$12 million in Jakarta-based Happy Fresh and US$8 million in Qraved, another Indonesian startup that provides users with restaurant information and reviews.

3. Tiger Global Management

This investment firm really picked up the pace this year, as its number of investments in Asia almost doubled to 35 from 18 last year. For Tiger Global Management, too, India was a focal point, where it made 29 investments, up from the 14 it had done last year.

It was a part of the bumper US$500-million funding round by Indian transport-hailing company Ola as well as US$350 million raised by Malaysia’s GrabTaxi. It was also a part of US$100 million funding round by Indian startup Saavn.

Also Read: These startup-related controversies in 2015 will leave you shocked

4. Accel Partners

Interestingly, Accel Partners did not make it to the top 10 investors in Asia last year, it stood at 12th rank with 17 investments in 2014, including 15 Indian startups.

This year, however, it changed gears and made 31 investments, of which 28 were in India. This included Ola’s Series E funding round of US$400 million and Portea Medical’s US$37.5 million Series B round, where it was the lead investor.

Its non-Indian investments in the year included playing lead in US$75 million funding in Chinese firm
DJI Innovations and US$60 million Series D round in Tel Aviv-based Fiverr.com.

5. East Ventures

Headquartered in Tokyo, East Ventures stayed clear of the Indian startup circle even as it made 29 investments in other Asian startups. Last year, the VC placed investments in 24 companies.

Its largest disclosed investments during the year were US$4 million each in Malaysian startup Kaodim and media platform Tech in Asia.

Also Read: The 4 most awful gaffes of 2015

6. SAIF Partners

This Hong Kong-based VC sharpened its focus on the Indian startup scene in 2015. Of the total 24 investments made by SAIF Partners in Asia in the year, only three were in non-Indian companies. This included a US$55 million round by Zhihu — a Chinese social website for questions and answers and US$19-million Series B funding in Chinese firm Yhouse.

The story was a bit different last year, when it participated in investment rounds of 10 Indian companies of the 21 it did in Asia.

7. Microsoft Ventures

Tapering its pace of investment, Microsoft Ventures invested in only 22 Asian startups as compared to 40 it had done a year ago.

Of the 22, only eight were in India, which was in line with 13 it had invested in a year ago when the total number was higher.

The investment size of almost all the startups made by the accelerator were undisclosed, what is known is its US$20-million investment in Tel Aviv-based mobile apps analytics company AppsFlyer.

Also Read: 10 global tech predictions for 2016

8. Kalaari Capital

This Bangalore-based venture capital firm kept all its investments closer to home. It did increase its number of investments to 18 this year from 13 in 2014.

It kept its funding participation to mid-to-large sized deals Kalaari Capital participated in funding rounds that went up to US$50 million.

In 2015, it participated in a US$50-million Series C funding round by Urban Ladder and a US$40-million Series C round by online lingerie startup Zivame.com

Also Read: 8 high-profile Asian shutdowns/pivots of 2015

9. IDG Ventures

This Indian VC diversified its geographic portfolio this year. Of the 17 investments made by IDG Ventures India this year, 14 were in Indian startups.

Last year, the company had invested in only nine, although all were based in India.

This year, it invested US$1 million in Singapore-based Cloudcherry and an undisclosed amount in another Singaporean startup LetsVenture.

10. Matrix Partners

From last year’s 10 investments, Matrix Partners participated in 15 investment rounds in Asia in 2015. These included US$100-million funding rounds by Bejing-based Lamabang and Edaixi.

It also participated in Shenzhen-headquartered To8to’s US$200 million Series C fund raising round.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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