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Omidyar Network To Enter New Sectors In India, Make Investments Worth $250 Mn

Omidyar Network To Enter New Sectors In India, Make Investments Worth $250 Mn

Omidyar Network is looking to enter new areas and sectors such as legal services, property rights, and public platforms

The VC firm continues to look at investing in early-stage startups with capital-light models and a potential to scale

Omidyar also plans to invest in sectors such as content and education technology

The Indian arm of self-styled philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network is looking to bet another $250 Mn on Indian ventures and organisations in the next four to five years.

Since 2008, Omidyar has invested about $250 Mn on nearly 73 organisations and startups, with 70% being in equity and the rest in grants.

In an interview with Livemint, Omidyar India partner and managing director Roopa Kudva said the venture capital (VC) firm is keen on entering new areas and sectors such as citizen-focused legal services, property rights, and public platforms.

In the past few years, Omidyar Network has been investing quite actively in Indian companies. In the last few months, the firm has invested in startups such as ZineOne, Pratilipi, Healofy, and IndusOS, among others.

Going forward, Omidyar plans to continue laying bets on early-stage startups with capital-light models and the potential to scale.

At present, the company is investing in sectors such as education, financial services, property rights, governance, digital identification, and emerging technologies.

With content and education technology startups gaining popularity, Omidyar plans to back promising companies in this domain.

“If we look at edtech, we’ve identified a white space in edtech and that white space is Series A. It’s not Series B, not seed. We don’t want to be a seed investor because every year, some 600 ed-tech firms get funded… We think people are willing to come in once a company is ready for a Series B. That I think is our sweet spot,” said Kudva to Livemint.

Investor interest in the Indian startup ecosystem has been on the rise in the last few years, and there are several other players renewing their bets or marking an entry into the ecosystem. Some of them are:

  • New York-based investment firm Tiger Global is ready to place its bets on Indian startup ecosystem again with its new $3 Bn fund — Tiger Global Private Investment Partners XI
  • Sequoia India announced the close of its sixth fund at a fund corpus of $695 Mn
  • Sashi Reddi, the Managing Partner of venture capital firm SRI Capital, launched a $100 Mn technology-focused, early-stage venture fund in July 2018
  • Mumbai-based early-stage VC firm Unicorn India Ventures has partnered with UK-based VC firm Ascension Ventures to launch a cross-border evergreen fund named Unicorn Ascension EIS Fund, which will support UK-based startups that are looking to enter the Indian market

As the Indian startup ecosystem continues to innovate and grow, spreading its wings in many sectors, international VC firms such as Omidyar are likely to make more and more bets in the country.