Google is joining SoftBank, Tiger Global and other investors in India, after the company revealed that it is in the process of setting up an office for Google Capital, its year-old late-stage fund, in the Asian country. The outpost will be its first outside of the U.S..
A Google spokesperson confirmed plans to hire an India-based Google Capital representative to TechCrunch, although it is not yet clear where that person will be based. Google Capital partner David Lawee told The Wall Street Journal that “it makes a lot of sense to focus on India right now,” citing the growing adoption of smartphones in the country and its increasingly active startup community.
There’s already plenty of money and investors with big reputations carving out deals in India. Tiger Global raised a fresh $2.5 billion in funding last year, a large chuck of which is believed to have been earmarked for the country, while SoftBank exploded on to India’s startup scene last year after announcing plans to invest $10 billion there. The Japanese telco giant has already put money into Uber-rival Ola, Housing.com, and e-commerce firm Snapdeal, and there’s plenty more to come.
Google Capital has already dipped its toes in India, having invested in real-estate portal CommonFloor, and US-Indian company Freshdesk, but it is unclear whether its India-based representative will have a dedicated chunk of Google Capital’s (reported) $300 million fund. The organization did tell the Journal that it is open to investing in Indian startups across the board — it will be interesting to see just how it increases its presence in India, and the knock-on effect that its official arrival has on the country’s startups and other investors.
Google Capital is not to be confused with Google Ventures, which has also expanded beyond the U.S. last with the launch of a $100 million Europe fund and regional HQ in London last summer.