India’s growing number of startups now have one additional VC fund that will listen to their business ideas. A91 Partners, a new VC fund founded by former partners at Sequoia Capital India, has closed their maiden fund at $351 million.
A91 Partners will focus on high-growth startups in consumer, technology, financial services and healthcare sectors in India, Abhay Pandey, a partner at A91 told TechCrunch in an interview.
A91, whose maiden fund is one of the largest for any VC funds in India, will focus on early as well as mid-stage startups that are looking to raise between $10 million and $30 million, Pandey said. Earlier this year, it invested about $14.2 million in Sugar, a cosmetics brand.
“In our experience, some companies get to this stage after having raised capital and some bootstrap their way into that position,” he added. Other than him, V.T. Bharadwaj, Gautam Mago, Prasun Agarwal — all former partners at Sequoia Capital India — and Kaushik Anand, formerly of CapitalG, are also partners at A91. They founded the fund late last year.
The inspiration of the name comes from the country code of India, which is 91. The letter A is inspired from Ashoka, India’s greatest emperor.
“We are excited about the opportunity ahead of us and look forward to partnering with founders building enduring businesses for tomorrow’s India,” the founding members said in a statement.
“Our role in this development and growth is to partner with exceptional founders to build the next generation of enduring Indian businesses. While fulfilling this role, we aspire to build an enduring, excellent, uniquely Indian investment firm,” they said.
A91 raised about 80% of the $351 million capital from overseas investors that include foundations, endowments, family offices and fund of funds, Pandey said. Some of these include the International Finance Corporation and Asia Alternatives, as well as Adams Street and Swiss-based LGT Capital Partners.
India’s tech startups have raised more than $20 billion in the last two years. The country’s growing startup ecosystem is increasingly attracting major VC firms in the nation. SoftBank and Tiger Global, two large global VC funds, count India as one of their biggest markets.
In recent years, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook have also begun to infuse money in India’s startup space. Google has invested in delivery startup Dunzo, while Amazon has taken stake in more than half a dozen local companies. Facebook invested in social commerce app Meesho last month.
Earlier this year, Microsoft expanded its M12 corporate venture fund (formerly known as Microsoft Ventures) to India with an investment in Innovaccer, a six-year-old SaaS startup. Samsung Venture, the investment arm of the South Korean technology conglomerate, made its debut investments in Indian startups on Wednesday.