CRED founder Kunal Shah was the busiest angel investor in the startup ecosystem in 2021, handing out 62 cheques
Two angel investors and former colleagues Jitendra Gupta, and Amrish Rau have also launched venture capital White Venture Capital to fund fintech startups
Unicorn founders such as Sujeet Kumar, Gaurav Munjal, Vidit Aatrey, Varun Alagh, and Sahil Barua were active angel investors in 2021
The year 2021 was really a bumper year for Indian startups. The year did not only see many startups moving to the public market from private, raising money in the form of an IPO, but also saw 42 Indian startups entering the unicorn club.
The year 2021, also saw the startup ecosystem cross $100 Bn in receiving funding since 2014. If we talk more about the year, over $42 Bn was invested in startups, by far the highest amount raised by Indian startups in a single year.
While VC/PE firms’ investment ideally comes into the picture when these startups meet certain criteria such as ARR, revenue, the products sold etc.; it is the angel investors who support the startup founders in meeting the operational expenses during the formation years. Over the years, the contribution of angel investors in early-stage startups has become irreplaceable and irrefutable.
According to Inc42 data, over 950+ angel and individual investors participated in the startup funding. Though many of them participated in less than 2-3 deals.
We have collated a list of 32 most active angel investors in India for our readers.
The list below is not meant to be a ranking of any kind. We have listed the investors in alphabetical order.
Most Active Angel Investors For Indian Startups
A former vice president of now listed payment giant, Paytm, Amit Lakhotia apart from running his venture Park+ is also very much into investing in startups. Angel investor in fintech startup BharatPe, and social commerce platform Trell, Lakhotia started his smart car parking business Park+ in 2019. It has already raised Series B round worth $25 Mn from Sequoia, Matrix among others. In 2021, Lakhotia participated in nine funding deals and backed startups like Fixcraft, GoKwik, and Junio.
Started his career as a sales manager in Siemens Nixdorf in 1996, Amrish Rau has steadily grown his way to becoming a two-time entrepreneur. He cofounded Mumbai-based digital payments startup Citrus Pay, along with Jitendra Gupta in 2013, which was later sold to PayU in 2016. In 2020, he joined Pine Labs as the CEO.
Rau-led Pine Labs, is now heading for an IPO and has recently received an investment worth $20 Mn from SBI. Last week, Rau also announced the launching of a venture firm in association with his former cofounder Jitendra Gupta – White Venture Capital. The venture firm will invest $250K – $1 Mn in seed to Series A rounds of fintech startups in India and Southeast Asia.
In 2021, Rau participated in 9 startup funding deals including Locus, Multiplier, OneCode. Overall, Rau has invested in more than 35 startups.
Anand Chandrasekaran, who cofounded now NASDAQ listed Aeroprise in 2001, has held several roles in different organisations in over two decades of his professional career. Chandrasekaran has also held roles in companies such as Facebook and Future Group. Just a few days back, he joined General Catalyst as a partner.
Overall he has participated in 130 deals, out of which, 70% are in Indian startups. Some of his recent investments in India included cloud management startup OpsLyft; retail aggregator SuperK, and B2B ecommerce platform Venwiz.
Anjali Bansal, founder of Avaana Capital has invested in more than five startups in her personal capacity in 2021.
Bansal who sits on the board of Tata Power, Bata, Kotak AMC, and Piramal Enterprises, has invested in unicorn startups such as IPO-bound Delhivery, Urban Company, Darwinbox, publicly-listed Nykaa, and Lenskart. Last year she invested in Clinikk, Mudrex, and Qapita, among others.
Founder and CEO of the recently minted unicorn — Livspace, Srivastava started his career as a manager in PepsiCo Management Leadership Program, Srivastava later joined Google as global head of product marketing and growth.
Last year, he invested in about 10 startups including home decor and lifestyle brand Nestasia, an Ayurveda doctor platform NirogStreet, and health insurance startup Plum.
Anupam Mittal started his entrepreneurial career with the People Group, which manages businesses such as Shaadi.com, Makaan.com and Mauj Mobile. Over the years, he has invested in more than 50 startups including Ola, Druva and Whatfix.
Mittal, who was also one of the sharks in Shark Tank India has invested in 11 Indian startups last year. Last year he had participated in Express Stores’ seed round of investment along with Venture Highway, Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal among others. Other notable investments by Mittal included Gobbly, and GoKwik’s $15 Mn Series A round.
Cofounder of Flipkart, which is arguably the most valued Indian startup at $36 Bn, Binny Bansal has been actively investing in startups as an angel investor.Flipkart was acquired by Walmart in May of 2018. Bansal exited the company in November of the same year. In December of 2018, he launched xto10x, a SaaS consultancy startup with former eKart executives Saikiran Krishnamurthy and Neeraj Aggarwal.
Last year, he invested in 12 startups. Some of his recent investments include — edtech startup PlanetSpark, Skill-Lync and fintech startup Rupifi.
Founder of NASDAQ-listed MakeMyTrip, Deep Kalra recently moved to a mentorship role after founding the online ticketing platform 21 years ago. An IIM Ahmedabad alumni,
Kalra invested in 8 startups last year including — Exotel, eka.care, and PlanetSpark last year.
The Zomato founder has been investing in startups for quite some time now. Goyal, who once worked for Bain & Company, has invested in healthtech startup Pristyn Care, HRtech startup Multiplier, and B2B ecommerce startup Geniemode, among others last year.
Overall, he has invested in about 15 startups to date. Some of his notable investments include Unacademy, Bira91, and Animall.
Founder and CEO of the country’s second most valued edtech startup Unacademy – Gaurav Munjal has doled out 11 cheques from his personal capacity mostly in the edtech and healthtech sectors.
While Unacademy has been on an acquisition spree, Munjal has participated in Pre-Series A of edtech startup AdmitKard, celebrity-learning startup FrontRow’s $14 Mn Series A round and healthtech startup eka.care, among other startups.
Cofounder of now NASDAQ-listed SaaS startup Freshworks, Mathrubootham invested in edtech startup Newton School, SaaS-based startup OSlash, and a tech-enabled sales enablement platform GTM Buddy. Over the years, Mathrubootham has backed more than 35 startups.
Started from Chennai, now headquartered in NY, Freshworks went to raise $1 Bn from the public market at a $10 Bn valuation, creating 500 millionaires.
Founder of what can be considered as the most valued fintech startup – Razorpay, Harshil has been in the news for investing in new age startups. An IIT Roorkee alumni, Mathur started Razorpay along with Shashank Kumar in 2014. Initially launched as a payment gateway, Razorpay now has branched its operations in several verticals, making it one of the biggest fintech startups in the country. Last year, Razorpay raised investment at a valuation of $7.5 Bn, inching closer to a decacorn valuation.
So far Mathur has invested in B2B cross-border trading platform GlobalFair, edtech startup Newton School, and assisted ecommerce startup OneCode.
Jitendra Gupta is the founder of neobanking startup Jupiter. Gupta who started as a regional sales manager in ICICI Bank in early 2004, understood the fintech opportunity that remained. In 2010, he founded Citrus Payment Solutions, which was later acquired by the global fintech giant PayU in 2016 for $130 Mn. After working two years as the managing director of PayU, Gupta launched his second venture Jupiter, which has already raised funding from Tiger Global, Sequoia, and Matrix. He has been actively investing in startups for a couple of years and has already invested in 40+ startups.
Last year, he invested in around 13 startups in his personal capacity. Some of his investments included – Lets Hash, a D2C tobacco brand, healthtech startup Meddo Health, and Hypto, a tech infrastructure platform.
Kunal Shah, the founder of fintech unicorn CRED is not an unknown name when it comes to the Indian startup ecosystem. He has handed out the most number of cheques as an angel investor in 2021. Shah, who had refused to be a shark in the popular Shark Tank India show has participated in 62 startup funding deals as an angel investor in 2021. Overall, his total investments in startups stands at 150.
CRED entered the unicorn club last year and doubled the valuation later in the year with more investment. However, he has not limited himself to one sector. His personal portfolio consists of startups from fintech, ecommerce, SaaS, among others. A few notable deals of Shah in the last year, include: Niro, a lendingtech startup; assisted ecommerce startup – OneCode, and healthcare startup Onsurity.
Founders of the IPO-bound ecommerce major Snapdeal, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal have been prominent angel investors for some time. Both the cofounders with their family office Titan Capital has invested in over 91 startups in 2021. Some of the notable investments of the duo from last year included construction startup Powerplay, edtech startup Questt, and transport marketplace startup Vahak.
Now building CRED with founder Kunal Shah, Sampat had initially started his career as an intern in Reliance Communications. He is well known for his role as chief strategy officer in Times Internet where he helped Times Internet grow through investment, acquisitions and strategic partnerships. Sampat has been an active angel investor since 2012 and has backed 14 startups. Last year he invested in OneCode, Onsurity, RAAHO, among others.
Rajesh Sawhney who is the founder of GSF Accelerator, a startup accelerator programme, is an industry veteran. Board member of IndiaMART and IPO-bound ixigo, Sawhney is known for his apt investments. His investments from last year included fintech startup Paisagrowth, edtech startup NxtWave, and a home construction marketplace Kolo. Over the years, Sawhney has been an active angel investor in Indian startups, and has backed over 100 startups.
Founder recently minted unicorn Livspace, Ramakant Sharma was one of the most prominent angel investors in 2021. In 2012, Sharma founded Zing Ecommerce that operated VioletBag, an online portal for all cosmetics needs, after quitting his job as VP in engineering in the fashion ecommerce portal Myntra. Sharma later went on to become an operating partner in the Singapore-based Jungle Ventures. He quit the VC firm two years after joining in 2013.
Sharma’s portfolio includes some exciting names such as crypto exchange platform and now turned unicorn CoinSwitch Kuber, fintech unicorn slice, virtual event manager Airmeet among others. He has invested in 50+ startups to date.
Revant Bhate, cofounder and CEO of Mosaic Wellness, a health and wellness startup, has participated in the funding of about 15 startups as an angel investor. Bhate who started his career as a manager in Yes Bank over a decade ago, worked with cloud kitchen startup, now turned unicorn Rebel Foods for five years. He was also a partner at Kstart Capital. Bhate in his personal capacity had invested in D2C brands like The Souled Store, Ultrahuman, and Wasabi last year.
Probably one of the youngest billionaires in the country, Ritesh Agarwal’s hospitality unicorn OYO is heading for an INR 8,430 Cr IPO and has already received in-principle nod from NSE and BSE. He has also been investing in startups. Agarwal through his family office, Aroa Ventures which is handled by Gaurav Gulati, invested in around 35 startups in 2021. As per estimates, the total investment would be worth $10 Mn. Some of his investments of last year included retail tech startup Dukaan, Zomato-backed magicpin, and B2B sales productivity startup Nektar.ai.
Dr Ritesh Malik who is considered as a mentor by many founders in the ecosystem, has in his personal capacity signed 20 deals last year. After studying Management of Innovation & Technology from Harvard, Malik founded Guerilla Ventures, an angel fund in 2013. Guerilla Ventures over the years had invested in startups across sectors including healthcare, enterprisetech, among others.
Malik is also the founder of Y Combinator-backed coworking startup Innov8. Malik sold his startup for INR 220 Cr in an all-cash deal to IPO-bound hospitality unicorn OYO in 2019. Some of his investments from the last year included insurtech startup Bimaplan, and Indore-based Supersourcing.
Rohit Kapoor who is the CEO of OYO’s India and South East Region had invested in across ten startups last year. Gurugram-based healthtech startup HexaHealth, edtech startup Leverage Edu, and D2C brand The Souled Store received investment from Kapoor last year. Kapoor who has been investing since 2016 has over the years invested in over 20 startups at his personal capacity.
Founder of IPO-bound Delhivery, Sahil Barua has recently been quite busy doling out cheques from his own pocket. Barua who started his career as a consultant in Bain & Company as per his Linkedin profile, started logistics startup Delhivery with Kapil Bharati, Bhavesh Manglani, Mohit Tandon, and Suraj Saharan in 2011. A few of Barua’s investments in 2021 included music licensing marketplace Hoopr and D2C sneaker brand Flatheads among others.
Serial entrepreneur and angel investor Shanti Mohan, is the founder of early-stage investment firm LetsVenture started her entrepreneurial journey in early-2000s as the cofounder of Ionic Microsystems, a technology company in Bengaluru that raised a Series A round.
After her exit from the company, she worked for HP in India and the US. As an angel investor, she has made over 14 investments in 2021 including Jar, Goat brands, Giva, Spottabl, Junio, Animall, Bimaplan to name a few.
Razorpay cofounder and an IIT Roorkee alumni, Shashank Kumar participated in funding rounds of 6 startups in 2021. Some of his investments include Bikry app, edtech startup Codingal, and healthtech startup eka.care.
Cofounder of IPO-bound B2B ecommerce giant Udaan, Sujeet Kumar has participated in funding rounds of 13 startups in 2021. An IIT Delhi alumni and former Flipkart employee, his investments in 2021 include OckyPocky, edtech startup, Qapita, Mumbai-based equity management platform, and a health food D2C brand The Whole Truth, where he participated in its $6 Mn Series A round.
Over the years, Kumar has backed 30+ startups.
Utsav Somani who started his career as an intern for HCL Technologies in 2009, became a member of Mumbai Angels in 2014. He started his angel investment career in the same year and also joined the popular Indian Angels Network to further increase his portfolio. However, later he left both the angel investment networks, but continued to remain a member of AngelList, which he joined in 2016. He made investments in startups including: Pristyn Care, which became a unicorn last year; BharatPe, CoinDCX, and Jupiter, among others.
Varun Alagh is the cofounder of D2C brand Mamaearth. Alagh who has spent almost a decade in major FMCG companies such as Hindustan Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Diageo, had noticed the need for a new-age cosmetics D2C brand in the country. Mamaearth which he had cofounded with his wife Ghazal Alagh became a unicorn in 2021. Though Alagh’s professional life has always been associated with FMCG brands, his portfolio is not restricted to D2C brands. He has invested in over 40 startups in 2021 including Cuvette Tech, BeepKart, Shiprocket, among others.
Vidit Aatrey, who is spearheading the social commerce sector in the country with his now turned unicorn startup Meesho, is also one of the active angel investors in the country. Starting his entrepreneurial journey with Pledge, a classified platform for the underprivileged, Aatrey later worked for the country’s first unicorn InMobi for a year between 2014 and 2015. He launched Meesho in 2015.
Some of his notable investments last year included: edtech startup’s Yellow Class’s Series A round, AppsForBharat’s $10 Mn Series A round, and transport marketplace platform Vahak.
Publicly listed Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has been in the startup space since 2002. He has been investing in startups since a long time as reported by mainstream media. Last year, Sharma incorporated VSS Investco and VSS Holdings as an investment vehicle to invest in companies. Inc42 last year exclusively reported that Sharma, along with Farhan and Zoya Akhtar invested in Ola Electric. Overall, he has backed 70+ startups.
Few of Sharma’s popular investments include Reliance and Tata backed healthtech platform Karkinos, dating app Truly Madly, edtech unicorn Unacademy.
The current list only includes the angel investors who participated in more than 3 deals in 2021. The deal counts only include publically disclosed deals.
If you would like to nominate more angel investors for this list, write to us at [email protected].
Update | 9th Feb, 2:45 PM IST
Deal number of some of the angel investors have been updated.