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DealStreetAsia

Sequoia Capital becomes top investor in Indian unicorns

Silicon Valley firm has eight so far; SoftBank and Steadview Capital second

Sequoia's Indian investments covered a lot of ground, including ed tech, ride-hailing and food delivery.   © Reuters

CEBU, Philippines -- Sequoia Capital India, an arm of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, has invested in eight Indian unicorns so far, making it the top unicorn investor in the country, according to a list released by Hurun Research Institute.

Unicorns are privately held startups that are valued at $1 billion or above.

Sequoia made bets in educational tech companies Byju's and Unacademy, ride-hailer Ola Cabs, food delivery service Zomato, hotel booking aggregator Oyo Rooms, software as a service companies Druva and Freshworks, and grocery delivery startup BigBasket.

Sequoia Capital made its debut in India in 2006, closing seven funds there so far. Last month, it announced its intention to invest $1.35 billion through a $525 million venture fund and an $825 million growth fund.

Sequoia closed its sixth India fund at $695 million in August 2018. Its fifth vehicle raised $920 million in 2016. The latest fund marks the first time the VC firm has split the corpus into two vehicles -- one for early stage and another for growth-stage investments.

With the new funds, Sequoia India's total assets under management have risen to over $5.78 billion.

The Hurun India Top Unicorn Investors List 2020 compiles all the firms that have invested in three or more Indian unicorns, totaling 18 as of Aug. 20. Hurun says the list is its first attempt to showcase the successes of investors who have put their trust in Indian unicorns.

"The success of these investors goes on to show that Indian HNWIs (high net worth individuals) should actively start allocating part of their portfolio towards startups," said Anas Rahman Junaid, Hurun Report India managing director and chief researcher.

Japan's SoftBank Group and asset management firm Steadview Capital tied for second, backing seven unicorn investments each. Multi-stage investment firm SAIF Partners invested in six unicorns, while Matrix Partners and Nexus Ventures Partners invested in five.

SoftBank gained 60% returns on its $2.5 billion investment in e-commerce company Flipkart, one of the biggest achievements of the Masayoshi Son-led company in the Indian market. SoftBank's Indian unicorn portfolio includes Paytm, OYO Rooms, Ola Cabs, Delhivery, FirstCry, Lenskart and PolicyBazaar.

Hurun India said the list was compiled by studying the regulatory filings of the unicorns and pertains to current unicorns only. For instance, investment in Flipkart was not considered for the report because it is no longer a unicorn.

India boasted 27 unicorns as of the end of 2019, making it the third-largest unicorn hub, trailing only the U.S. and China.

For the original story from DealStreetAsia, click here.

DealStreetAsia is a financial news site based in Singapore that focuses on private equity, venture capital and corporate investment activity in Asia, especially Southeast Asia, India and greater China. Nikkei owns a majority stake in the company.

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