A Sneak Peek at Cross-Border Investments in Indian Startups

Global investors are betting big on Indian companies and how

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By Aastha Singal


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The Indian startup ecosystem is growing each day. With the government taking positive steps to provide an inducive environment for the ease of doing business in the country and investors showcasing belief in the ideas generated by Indian innovators, the nation is witnessing some real deals happening. Global investors are taking an interest in our startups more than ever and why?

Being born in a unique market like India, the startups are designed to solve the real-life issues at ground level, ensuring a massive future potential with the right guidance and funding. If a social commerce platform like Meesho can bring Facebook to make its first India investments, then catching the attention of other global giants is not much of a big deal.

Read More: Meesho Founder Vidit Aatrey Makes it to Entrepreneur India's 35under35 List

Reportedly, micro-blogging giant Twitter is also planning to pump in nearly $50 million in local language social networking app ShareChat. Looking at the recent funding trends, one thing is clear – Global investors are highly impressed by the Indian startups. Take Jennifer Lopez's funding in Zorba Renaissance, which operates the Sarva chain of yoga studios for instance.

The growth potential of Indian startups has specifically fascinated the international Venture Capitalists. According to the data by CB Insights, Japan-based SoftBank Group has the largest list of unicorn companies under its portfolio in India followed by Tiger Global Management and China's biggest tech investor Tencent Holdings.

The Battle of Unicorns

Leading the battle is the Japanese giant which has seven Indian unicorns in its portfolio, namely Inmobi, Ola Cabs, Paytm, Oyo Rooms, Policy Bazaar, Snapdeal and the latest billion-dollar company Delhivery. SoftBank is reportedly all set to take the number to eight with investment in Ratan Tata-backed eyewear startup Lenskart. In comparison, Tiger Global and Tencent have three unicorns in their kitty each.

While the tiger has gulped in Hike, Shopclues and Freshworks, the Chinese giant has Byju's, Dream 11 and Hike in its portfolio. Talking about unicorns and their international investors, we can't forget Alibaba which has pumped money in Bigbasket and Paytm. DST Global and Sequoia also make to the list of cross-border investment powerhouses.

The Latest Bets

Having invested in bigger startups so far, SoftBank is reportedly eying smaller deals between $100 to $200 million in the near future. In the past months, the investment giant has held discussions with online medicine delivery firm PharmEasy and news aggregator DailyHunt to invest $150-200 million. In May, it participated in a $220 million funding round in Grofers.

Tiger Global was also the part of a funding round in the online grocery platform. The fund recently betted on OkCredit and had infused $100 million into Ninjacart, a Bengaluru-headquartered B2B agritech startup in April. It also funded B2B startups expense management startup, Fyle and SaaS mobile analytics and marketing, CleverTap along with Zenoti, the enterprise cloud platform provider for the beauty and wellness industry.

Editor's Note:

To know more about unicorns eyeing acquisitions, don't forget to join the INVESTING IN THE FUTURE - CROSS BORDER INVESTMENT TRENDS panel of our Entrepreneur show. Entrepreneur 2019 is the flagship annual event of Entrepreneur Media. It is the final destination for entrepreneurs, investors, disruptors and innovators where they discuss, debate and dissects what the future holds in a vibrant atmosphere. In its Ninth Edition, Entrepreneur Media brings together the Movers and Shakers of India and the Asia Pacific.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 

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