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November 25, 2013

Zomato investment signals ascent of Corporate VCs in India?

In the context of online restaurants review service Zomato raising about $20M with revenues of less than $2M, seed investment specialist Anand Lunia has a quora post on how corporate VCs (like Naukri, One97, etc) have more "courage, belief and patience" to take such leaps of faith than pure commercial VCs. Extract:

That a large proportion of Consumer Internet companies, at least in the past, have been funded by Corporate Investors. Perhaps regular VCs have preferred topline first businesses like restaurants, healthcare chains, pharma manufacturing (!).

The early stage VCs in India have done a decent job, however, of following these corporate nurtured ventures  with Series B/C investments, in a slightly herd like behaviour (the way everybody queued up recently for a certain on-line fashion co was funny.)
...The operating word for the failed ones was 'revenue'. The operating word for the successful ones was Product and Usage. Revenue is the best strategy for continuous funding rounds in India. Having a corporate venture fund who will go all the way up to $10-20 M investment without seeking validation from one more VC is a big advantage.

Going after a large market was another big mistake that many made. That explains the pivots pretty much every E-Commerce company made AFTER raising a large VC round. This also explains the pivots that many content companies did into  E-Commerce. What are the  chances that Zomato would have been doing table reservations/food delivery/gourmet food E-Commerce after raising the first $2M?  

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