High-profile entrepreneurs launch $85 million fund to back Indian SaaS startups

Four high-profile Indian entrepreneurs who are among those who kickstarted India’s SaaS journey, building and helping startups scale and win customers globally and also backed about 100 such firms, are ready for their next phase of participation in the country’s startup ecosystem.

The group — Girish Mathrubootham of Freshworks, Manav Garg of Eka Corporation, Shubham Gupta, formerly with investment firm Matrix, and Avinash Raghava, formerly with Nasscom, iSPIRT and SaaSBOOMi — said on Wednesday it has created a venture capital fund, called Together Fund, with an initial corpus of $85 million to back young Indian startups operating in the software-as-a-service space.

Together Fund is looking to back between 20 to 25 startups at pre-seed to Series B stages. The firm’s check size will range between $250,000 to $3 million, said Garg in an interview with TechCrunch.

Indian news outlet The CapTable first reported about the fund’s formation earlier this year and cited an investor who said that Together is likely to attract all good SaaS deals because of its founding team and problem statement.

The fund has amassed a network of over 150 startup founders and investors including Krish Subramanian of Chargebee, Nishith Rastogi of Locus, Shashank ND of Practo and Kunal Shah of CRED. That underscores the reason why Together Fund was conceived, said Garg. The entire team consists of founders and other operators who have built startups and have expertise around sales strategy and global expansion, he said.

“This is India’s first operator-and-founder-led fund,” he said. “The idea of creating this fund was to provide great help and opportunities to the founders along with money.”

The creation of the fund — which counts its founding team among its LPs — comes at a time when Indian startups are raising record capital as many high-profile investors double down in the world’s second-largest internet market.

In the past decade, India’s startup ecosystem has evolved from a space that most Indian families were apprehensive about to one that has witnessed several high-profile exits and many entrepreneurs have marched ahead to work on their second startups.

“Today, Freshworks is a large company with more than 3,800 team members and offices all over the world. But almost eleven years ago, we were just a six-member team operating out of a small garage in Chennai. I didn’t have a gilt-edged resume or family wealth but that never stopped me from dreaming big,” wrote Mathrubootham in a blog post.

“To me, Together is not just a fund, it is a way to pay it forward to the startup community that gave me so much. It is a natural progression of the ‘pay it forward’ initiatives we started with community programs such as PNGrowth, SaaSx and SaaSBOOMi. With Together, we are not just offering capital to founders, we are offering our time and counsel as well,” he added.

The founding team of Together Fund will continue to participate in other industry initiatives, including SaaSBOOMi, an annual flagship conference focused on SaaS startups in India, said Raghava in an interview.

India’s SaaS industry could reach $1 trillion in value and create about half-million new jobs by 2030, according to a recent study by SaaSBoomi, consultancy firm McKinsey and industry trade group Nasscom.