Stage and sector-agnostic investment firm SAIF Partners has said it would be signing close to 15 deals in 2020. Moreover, the firm has also decided to look into new sectors such as agritech and software-as-a-service (SaaS), besides fintech, edtech and ecommerce.
So far, SAIF Partners portfolio includes digital insurance company Acko, SME lending platform CapitalFloat, food and beverages brand Chaayos, food aggregator Swiggy, social commerce platform Meesho, and home services startup UrbanClap, which is now known as Urban Company. SAIF Partners has also invested in unicorns such as digital payments platform Paytm, online ticketing platform BookMyShow and logistics startup Rivigo.
Deepak Gaur, managing director at SAIF Partners, told ET that the company has already completed some term-sheet stage transactions in January 2020. He also emphasised that SAIF Partners core business is around early-stage investments even as it continues investing in late stages as well.
“As a fund, we do not make competing investments and that also puts more of an onus to be therefore more confident and convinced when we are backing teams. We will not invest in one company, and then if we find a better team, back them as well,” Mukul Arora, managing director at SAIF Partners said.
On average, SAIF Partners invests in 10 to 12 early-stage startups annually. However, last year, it made 15 deals and wants to repeat the same trend in 2020. In terms of exits, the company is estimated to have earned $62 Mn and $30 Mn from its partial exits in Swiggy and the Urban Company (UrbanClap), respectively. The company also noted a partial exit from SaaS companies Autoninja and CrowdAnalytix.
“Exits are core to our business. Our investors, as well as us, are very proud that we are amongst the best funds in India in terms of return on investments and liquidity,” Arora added.
Founded in 2001, SAIF PArtners was started as SoftBank Asia Infrastructure Fund with a $400 Mn fund from Cisco Systems and SoftBank being sole limited partner. Currently, it manages assets worth over $3 Bn. It is said to be the most active funds in Hong Kong, China, and India.
In 2017, SAIF Partners raised $350 Mn for its India-focused Fund III. Besides backing startups, SAIF Partners is also looking to enter into deals with public companies. Up to 15% to 20% of its third fund was reportedly reserved for public investments.
So far, it has invested in public companies like Bajaj Consumer Care, Blue Star, Edelweiss, Havells, IndiaMART, Mindtree, Havells and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.