Singapore-based early-stage venture capital (VC) and private equity fund Leo Capital is set to float its third fund with a corpus of $125 Mn. With an aim to provide early-stage financing to consumer tech startups in India, the VC firm has attracted global investors including Cendana Capital, among others.
The proposed fund comes on the back of deploying two funds totalling $106 Mn. With the new fund, the startup will be investing anywhere from $500K – $2 Mn in pre-Series A rounds of tech-based India domestic consumption startups including consumer internet, commerce, healthtech, logistics, edtech, fintech, insurtech etc.
Leo Capital was set up by former PineLabs, GlobalLogic & Sunstone Education founder, Rajul Garg and serial investor Shwetank Verma in 2017. It focuses on tech-based Indian startups that have the potential to go global, especially SaaS companies.
Its current portfolio includes diabetes reversal startup BeatO, social commerce startup Bulbul, edtech Edureka, browser testing startup LambdaTest, women-focused social community startup SHEROES, among others.
Since its launch, Leo Capital claims to have made 32 investments, exited 2 startups and 20 of the total have gone on to raise further rounds. Leo Capital was also the early-stage backer of social commerce startup Meesho — a $5 Bn+ valuation company today.
Talking about the investment scenario in India, Verma said, “There is an abundance of opportunity in the startup ecosystem across India and Southeast Asia, where a unicorn is born every week. India’s maturing startup ecosystem has moved well beyond just consumer apps and there is a booming domestic stock market that has shown investors a path to liquidity that has not always been there. ”
As Leo acts as an early stage enabler, it aims to back startups that could grow into the $5 Tn public market opportunity in the next three years. “Indian public market valuation just recently passed the $3.5 Tn mark and there are 150 private companies waiting in the wings that could potentially list on the market within the next three years,” Verma added. “We look for businesses with a vision and a business model that can scale to enduring, impactful large enterprises.”
The present spaces of interest for Leo Capital include participative commerce, insurtech, fintech, Web3 and global SaaS companies.
Indian Startup Funding At All-Time High
The Indian start-up ecosystem presents a blossoming opportunity for global investors. India is set to surpass the record level of total investment it saw last year when venture funding totalled $33.8 Bn, where $26 Bn was raised till August 2021 alone.
In H1 2021 (January to June 2021), Indian startups raised $10.8 Bn raised over 614 funding deals, and 338 deals have been recorded since then, coming to an average of over five deals per day from July 01, 2021-August 30, 2021.
Further, since 2014, over 6,500 Indian startups have raised over $81B in funding and this is growing exponentially year on year. This includes 75+ startups that are in the unicorn Club (valuation > $1 Bn).
While late-stage funding has grown 3.6x from 2020 to 2021, enabling a large amount of funding inflow, the amount of early-stage deals have grown >3x, as well. Primarily these startups are backed by:
- Some prominent yearly accelerator programmes like Y Combinator, Airtel Startup Accelerator Program, Reliance’s GenNext, Google For Startups, Microsoft Accelerator, The Facebook Accelerator Program, Angel Pad, Huddle among others and
- Micro VC firms such as Artha Venture, Atrium Angels, Gemba Capital, Capital A, Sequoia India’s Surge, Investment Syndicate Seeders, Better Capital among others.
Further, in the year 2020, a total of $ 403 Mn was raised at the seed stage. And, the number has already reached $ 617 Mn till August of 2021.