Lightspeed Venture Partners has roped in Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund to back its third India-focused fund amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The venture capitalist has bagged capital commitments worth up to $25 million for Lightspeed India Partners III from the US-headquartered pension fund, per a disclosure.
The development signals the long-term growth potential limited partners (LPs) such as pension funds and fund managers such as Lightspeed Venture Partners continue to see in India, even as investment sentiments in the current market remain tepid.
Lightspeed Venture Partners is understood to be eyeing a corpus of around $250-300 million for Lightspeed India Partners III, which is expected to be closed by the end of June.
Text messages and calls to Bejul Somaia, managing director at Lightspeed Venture Partners, remained unanswered at the time of publishing the story.
Lightspeed forayed into India in 2007, a year before the global financial crisis weighed heavily on the world economy. So far, it has raised two India-focused funds to clock early-stage investments in sectors such as consumer internet and software, among others.
An early backer in hospitality chain Oyo Hotels & Hotels, edtech firm Byju’s, messaging app Sharechat, and B2B marketplace Udaan, Lightspeed raised $135 million for India investments in 2015 and a bigger $175 million fund in 2018. Prior to establishing its dedicated fund for the country, it invested in India from its global fund.
The venture capitalist has so far made partial exits from OYO and Byju’s, thereby bagging multi-bagger returns. According to an earlier report by the Economic Times, the firm is estimated to have earned between $900 million and $1 billion from the two transactions.
Apart from Lightspeed India Partners III, Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund is looking to invest up to $50 million in AEW Partners Real Estate Fund IX, a value-added real estate fund managed by AEW Capital Management, and up to $7.5 million in US-headquartered venture capital fund Harpoon Ventures Fund II.
The three new commitments from Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund total up to $82.5 million.