Inventus Capital Partners, Sixth Sense Ventures, Blume Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners were voted the top Venture Capital investors in India during 2019. The Venture Intelligence “Awards for Private Equity Excellence” (APEX) is dedicated to celebrating the best that the Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital industry has to offer. Other 2019 winners in the VC segment included Axilor Ventures which was voted the Accelerator of the Year for the second year running, 3one4 Capital (VC Fund Raise of the Year) and Innoven Capital (Venture Debt firm of the Year).
The APEX Awardees are selected based on both Self Nomination by the participating PE-VC firms as well as "crowd sourced" nominations and voting from the Limited Partner, PE-VC and advisory communities. (The main criteria are Exit Track Record, New Fund Raises & Follow-on Funding Rounds for Portfolio Companies).
"It is an honour to be recognised by entrepreneurs and investors as India's No 1 startup accelerator, two years in a row," said V Ganapathy, Co-founder, Axilor Ventures. "This is clear validation of the program value and the strong market network we have built at Axilor. We are also delighted to have been part of the journeys of so many successful startups," he added.
"Its an honour to be considered for this award category." said Sanjay Nath, Managing Partner, Blume Ventures. "Seed funds are tasked with backing entrepreneurs seeking to re-invent the future. These turbulent times have made seed investing even more challenging; on the other hand, its a great time to rebuild and rethink how user and enterprise behaviors are shifting, and back innovative ideas with a brand new canvas," he added.
"Over the last decade, we've seen the Indian startup ecosystem evolve into a rich and vibrant ecosystem. The consistent growth in quality of entrepreneurs and companies has enabled us to continue doing our job and we feel truly humbled to be selected as the best Early Stage VC by the startup ecosystem," said Rutvik Doshi, Managing Director, Inventus Capital India.
"It's an honour and a matter of pride for Sixth Sense to be accorded (this award). With humility, I accept the award as we remain steadfast in our resolve of 'Investing in the Consumer of Tomorrow...today!'," said Nikhil Vora, Founder & CEO of the stage agnostic Sixth Sense Ventures which was the Co-Winner in the Early Stage VC category. "Our fiduciary responsibility is to optimise returns for our stakeholders. A job made quite easy by the 'smart ass' founders, working in a 'big ass' market with a 'kick ass' product. It's said, 'work hard in silence, let success make its noise'. All I can say is that, We have just started the journey!" he added.
"We are delighted to receive the Growth Capital VC of the year award! For Norwest India, in addition to several new investments and follow-ons, our exits continued to remain our focus and we managed to completely exit 6 SaaS companies in addition to significant partial exits as well," said Niren Shah, Managing Director and Head of India at Norwest Venture Partners India. "We have received back to back awards and will hope to maintaining the winning streak in the coming years as well."
"We are happy to accept this award and are very grateful for the support and acknowledgment from the investment community, and for everyone's feedback as we scale the firm." said Pranav Pai, Founding Partner of 3one4 Capital, which won the VC Fund Raise of the Year award. "India's nascent startup scene is complemented by the growth of the domestic Fund Management industry. Investments by AIFs in India have grown at a CAGR of 84% since 2015. New Fund Managers are entrepreneurial as they seek to disrupt the VC industry. 3one4 has grown capital under management by 16x over the same time period. Awards such as this help highlight these emerging trends and we're honored to be a part of this year's cohort," he added.
"The last five years have been an intense period of growth for India's alternative investment sector, and 2020 promises to support more progress. While the early-stage entrepreneurs focus on cracking the product-market fit, we have focused on mobilizing more of the domestic capital within the country to support the emergence of strong brands that set an example with high-governance. We hope to pay this incredible honor forward and will continue to support the industry so that we may all contribute towards India becoming a standard-bearer for the growth of the next set of generational companies. We are very grateful for the extraordinary support from the ecosystem, and we remain committed to playing our part in growing the asset class as India scales to its $5 Trillion GDP target," added Siddarth Pai, Founding Partner of 3one4 Capital.
“We are excited to get this recognition, which is a testament to the accomplishments of our portfolio companies," said Ashish Sharma, CEO of InnoVen Capital India. "We believe that the venture eco-system will play a critical role as the economy moves faster towards low-touch, digital and tech enabled business models. We look forward to continue backing great founders and innovative business models that have the potential to make a meaningful impact,” he added.
Venture Intelligence also took the opportunity to request the winning investors to provide their take on the Emerging (Covid-19 impacted) VC-Startup landscape in India. Some reactions:
“We are going through unprecedented times with a lot of uncertainty around public health and the state of the economy. However, as VCs we are born optimists and we do believe that the crisis will be behind us soon. Every crisis and downturn redefines the way we do things and smart entrepreneurs will emerge during this crisis too who will build the products and tools to shape our lives going forward. We will be looking for such smart entrepreneurs and are open to backing them.” - Rutvik Doshi, Managing Director, Inventus Capital India.
“The venture ecosystem is indeed going through a perfect storm with demand destruction, supply chain disruption and funding market dislocation. While this has created a challenging environment for most start-ups, the new normal is also helping some sectors to scale up faster. We expect that there will be some profound changes to customer behaviour, which will lead to a faster transition to new age business models. There are some valid concerns around growth/late stage funding in the medium term but I am quite encouraged by the strong early stage funding activity. For early stage companies, there is adequate dry powder and investors are keen to back founders who can discover large opportunities, innovate fast and build sustainable business models” - Ashish Sharma, CEO of InnoVen Capital India.
“These are trying times indeed, with the pandemic gravitating to a global economic crisis, with a high degree of business uncertainty around. That said, seed (in particular) and early stage (broadly) investing is a 10+ year “long game” and hence all investable startups should be Covid-proof. India continues to be a key talent hub for the world, besides having a massive domestic market. The landmark Facebook-Jio deal has brought digital to the forefront, with venture well positioned to ride on these tailwinds. This digital inflection point plays directly into the exciting consumer and enterprise startups we see every day. This is also an opportune time to self-correct, and valuations will be more accurately priced. We’re seeing more signs of high quality founders starting up, and believe our ecosystem will emerge stronger and more resilient.” - Sanjay Nath, Managing Partner, Blume Ventures.
“We believe that the Covid impact on India and globally is going to be significant, but we remain bullish and committed to the India growth story in the long term. We remain active on new deployments in the Growth Equity space and will now invest out of our new $2 Billion global fund which we raised in end 2019. We are very keen to support dynamic & agile management teams, strong business models and companies which will convert this adversity into an opportunity.” - Niren Shah, Managing Director, Norwest Venture Partners India
Venture Intelligence is India's longest serving provider of data and analysis on Private Company Financials, Transactions (private equity, venture capital and M&A) & their Valuations in India.