Founders grappling to make startups recession-proof: Sequoia Capital

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With the COVID-19 crisis impacting the startup ecosystem, Sequoia Capital India said that founders are grappling with difficult choices and increasingly looking for ways to make their organisations more adaptable, resilient and ‘recession-proof’.

As a part of this, Sequoia India has also launched a microsite to serve as a resource for founders and their teams during the challenging months ahead.

The impact of COVID-19 can be seen on Indian startups, with several Indian unicorns including Udaan, OYO and Swiggy laying off and furloughing their permanent and contractual staff, last month.

“Startups, particularly those in the seed and Series A stage, operate with a high level of uncertainty during the normal course of business. Covid-19 is redefining what uncertainty means,” said Sequoia Capital India in the first edition of its regional newsletter.

In April, venture capital (VC) firms including Sequoia Capital, along with other prominent Indian startup founders and CEOs, came together to launch ACT (Action Covid Team), which provided grants to companies developing original solutions to combat the spread of the COVID-19.

Sequoia Capital India also mentioned in its newsletter that its existing portfolio across India & ASEAN, raised a total of $2.8 billion in Q1 2020 from a variety of investors. Sequoia also participated in some of these investment rounds.

However, over the past quarter, Sequoia Capital India did participate in Unacademy’s $110 million Series E funding.

Further, the global venture capital firm also added newer companies to its portfolio, while investing this quarter in babycare brand Mamaearth; digital adoption provider Whatfix; agri-tech platform DeHaat, AI-based healthcare startup, Qure.ai; as well as AI-platform Salesken.ai, amongst others.

Sequoia Capital India also said that it is closely tracking the ‘rise of direct-to-consumer brands with strong appeal to Asia’s mobile-first millennials’ along with agritech as a segment.

“While some startups in areas like edutech, online gaming, collaboration, food delivery or healthcare will see growth during this period, others will face difficult choices in the weeks and months ahead,” said Rajan Anandan, MD of Sequoia Capital India in a recent column in Mint.

This article was first published on livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.