Funding is everything for a new venture. And investors are not the best people on earth. There are far more instances of entrepreneurs failing to raise any amount from investors than the funding of new startups. These instances just don’t get quoted in the media. Completing homework hasn’t harmed anyone, so it is good to be prepared before you start digging in for your investor.
Broadly, there are two kinds of sources that put in their investments in a startup / venture : Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors.
Angel investors, by their very nature, are far more likely to be risk takers than a venture capitalist might be. An angel investor, like any investor, wants to see a return on their investment but they’re also motivated by a desire to see new and perhaps innovative businesses get off the ground and succeed. In layman’s terms, angel investors bridge the gap between building the initial product and building the company.
Angel investors are typically well-connected, wealthy individuals. They generally use their own money and come with none of the above VC constraints : they don’t go on boards, they don’t put in lots of capital, they prefer dead simple terms, they understand the experimental nature of the idea, and they can sometimes decide in a single meeting whether or not to invest.
Venture Capitalists (Venture Capital Firms), on the other hand come into the picture when your business is up and running and you’re over those first early hurdles. Unlike angel investors venture capitalists are more motivated by profit than anything else and so they look to invest in businesses that offer security and a high return on their investments. While angel investors limit their investments to relatively small amounts venture capitalists tend to think of a starting point for funding to be around $500,000.
You can check a detailed differentiation here.
Here is a list of active Venture Capital Firms in India
- Aavishkar India, Mumbai. Early stage in the sectors of Agriculture and Dairy, Education, Energy, Handicrafts, Health, Water and Sanitation, Technology for Development and Microfinance and Financial Inclusion.
- Accel Partners, Bangalore. World renowned firm managing funds of over $8.8bn (see portfolio). Invests in companies from inception through the growth stage
- APIDC, Hyderabad. State Government run fund for medium and large industries like manufacturing, mining etc.
- Bessemer Venture Partners, Mumbai & Bangalore. Has invested in 25 companies in India covering Internet and mobile, Software products, Financial services, Health care, Power and infrastructure.
- Blue Run Ventures, Mumbai. Early stage venture firm focused on mobile opportunities in key global markets.
- Canaan Partners, Delhi-NCR. Global players with funds worth around $3bn.
- Canbank Venture Capital, Bangalore. First venture fund to be set up by a public bank (Canara Bank). Invests in mid-stage to late-stage enterprises with priorities in MSME sector (micro, small and medium enterprises).
- Cataraman Ventures, Bangalore. Founded by Infosys’s Narayan Murthy, it is attributed for funding India’s first micro-financing firm SKS Microfinance.
- DFJ, Bangalore. Focused on companies specializing in consumer and enterprise IT, commerce, cloud, enterprise, big data, and bold new technologies at seed, early and growth stages.
- Global Technology Ventures, Bangalore. Invests in ventures across all stages.
- Gujarat Venture Finance, Ahmedabad. Invests in early and growth stage technology based companies across India with focus on SME sector.
- Helion Venture Partners, Bangalore & Delhi NCR. $605 Million India-focused, early to mid-stage venture fund, investing in technology-powered and consumer service businesses in sectors like Outsourcing, Internet, Mobile, Technology Products, Retail Services, Healthcare, Education and Financial Services.
- IDG India ventures, Banglaore & Mumbai. $150mn fund focusing on early stage company building.
- IFCI Venture Capital, Delhi. Invests in automotive, knowledge based and green energy sectors.
- IL & FS Venture Corporation Fund, Mumbai.
- India Angel Network, Delhi. Seed stage funding across all sectors.
- India Innovation Fund. Invests in innovation led, early stage firms with focus areas including Information and Communication Technologies and Life Sciences.
- India Co Ventures Limited, Pune. Only focus on SMEs.
- Indian Direct Equity Advisors, Mumbai.
- Intel Capital, Bangalore. Very popular fund worldwide. Focuses on innovation led seed stage and even ready for growth companies. Secotrs: Mobility, Software & services, Consumer internet, Media & entertainment, computing, and Manufacturing & labs.
- Inventus Capital, Bangalore. Focus on financing early stage companies with some customer validation in the following areas Internet, Mobile, Cloud/Software, Services.
- KAE Capital, Mumbai. Invests in early stage companies.
- KITVEN Fund, Bangalore. State & Central Govt. financial institutions backed Venture Capital Fund for companies catering to nformation Technology, Bio-Technology and other high-end products in the knowledge based sector.
- Light Speed Venture Partners, Delhi. Expansion stage investments in the consumer, enterprise technology and cleantech markets.
- Matrix Partners, Mumbai. Have INR 3,000 crores under management and invest across significant groth sectors in India, including internet, mobile, education, financial services, healthcare, consumer and emerging areas. Look for companies targetting Indian markets and invest at all stages.
- Nadathur Holdings, Bangalore. Founded by Infosys’s co-founder with an investment portfolio of over US $600 million.
- Indo US Ventures (now Kalaari Capital). Early to mid stage funding.
- Netz Capital, Mumbai. Focused on real estate and infrastructure backed business models supported by technology.
- Nexus Venture Partners, Mumbai & Bangalore. Investment size ranges up to $10 million in early / early-growth stage companies that address Indian or global markets.
- Nirvana Venture Advisors, Mumbai. Early investor in internet, mobile and network companies in India, that are riding the boom in the digitization of the Indian economy.
- Norwest Venture Partners, Bangalore & Mumbai. Focused on growth equity investments in India-centric businesses across a wide range of sectors such as technology, financial services, infrastructure, consumer, industrials, manufacturing, media, telecommunications, retail and healthcare. NVP also makes early to mid-stage venture capital investments in India that are focused on sectors such as consumer, internet, telecommunications, financial services and education. NVP typically invests between $15 million and $35 million and up to $75 million in each transaction.
- Ojas Venture Partners, Bangalore. Early stage fund for following sectors: Low Capex semiconductor, SaaS, Mobile applications, Embedded software, Consumer Internet and e-Commerce, Wireless technologies.
- One97 Mobility Fund
- Punjab Venture Capital
- Rajasthan Venture Capital, Jaipur. Invests in start-ups and mid stage Retail, Auto, Agri & Bio Tech, Health Care, Tourism, Entertainment, Logistics, IT.
- Reliance Ventures, Mumbai. Focuses on both established as well as emerging or disruptive technologies and business model. Invests across the globe in various stages of the company’s lifecycle.
- SAIF Partners, Delhi. Currently managing over US$ 1 billion of investments in India. Generally makes investments between $2 Mn to $75 Mn in one or more rounds of financing in early and growth stage companies across sectors such as consumer products & services, technology, media, telecom, financial services, healthcare, travel and tourism, and manufacturing.
- Seed fund, Mumbai. One of the best venture funds with an outstanding portfolio. Also has its own startup incubation facilities.
- Sequoia Capital, Mumbai, Delhi & Bangalore. Early and growth stage investment. One of the biggest in the world.
- SIDBI Venture Capital
- Tiger Global
- Veddis Ventures, Gurgaon. Invests in various stages of a company´s development from incubating a start-up to investing for growth.
- Ventureast, Hyderabad & Chennai. Invests in multiple stages i.e. seed and early to growth stages.
Though the list is not an exhaustive one, it does try to cover the majority of venture capitalist firms that are active in the Indian startup eco-system. In case you feel we have left out an important player in this field, do let us know.
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