Mumbai-Based Seed Investment Platform Expand to HK Soon
Venture Catalysts to expand to US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan by mid-2018
Mumbai-based seed investment platform Venture Catalysts is charting a global roadmap for itself in a bid to open up global channels of money into the Indian startup ecosystem from the initial stages itself.
The angel network will expand into five new countries, including Qatar, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the US by mid-2018. The platform kicked off its Qatar operations last month with the country pinned to be the hub for Venture Catalysts’ operations in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries.
“Around 200 investors will be joining (our platform) in Qatar and a huge network will be created there. But there will be a huge synergy between (the Indian) network and that (global) network,“ cofounder Apoorv Rangan Sharma told ET.
The platform is looking to widen its investor network by 150-200 in each new country. The global networks will largely, but not solely, look at Indian companies seeking to expand their footprint globally. “We will also invest in companies in countries beyond where we are expanding,“ said Sharma. “20% of our investments may happen (in companies) across the globe.“
The platform has aggregated a network of over 600 angels across India and typically facilitates investments in companies at the seed stage with ticket sizes spanning $0.5-1 million (Rs 3-6 crore). The platform will follow a similar model when it comes to investments through its global platforms along with local partners in various countries and remain sector-agnostic.
“90% of our investments will be at the seed stage and the remaining will be for pre-series A. We will do most pre-series A rounds in syndication with our global investor partners,“ Sharma said. This expansion comes at a time when early-stage funding in the country has seen some of its sheen wear off.
Reversing last year’s early trend, the first quarter of 2017 has seen angel and seed investments fall both in volume and value terms with deal volumes reduced to half as per data from VCCEdge. January-March 2017 has seen 120 deals in comparison to 245 deals in the same period last year with Series-A funding slumping 65% in deal value on a YoY basis.
Venture Catalysts is targeting a 2x growth in investments as it spreads its wings across the globe. “The potential for investments globally could reach $15 mn (about Rs 100 crores) from the current $10 mn (about Rs 65 crores) that we facilitate in India. The growth potential is at least 1.5-2x,” outlined Sharma. Venture Catalysts has facilitated investments worth Rs 100 cr across 20 deals in FY17 in India.