India: SAIF Partners rebrands as Elevation Capital, raises $400m for Fund VII

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SAIF Partners, which has close to $2 billion in assets under management, has been renamed as Elevation Capital. Along with the change in brand identity, Elevation Capital also announced that it has raised $400 million as a part of its India-focussed ‘Fund VII’, through which it looks to make 25-30 investments, over the next 2-3 years. The VC firm will deploy the new fund, by the last quarter of 2020, with no plans to fund startups in the South-Asian market.

The venture capital (VC) firm which started its India practice in 2001 and was an abbreviation for ‘Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund’. The fund has been considering changing its identity for a while now, to differentiate itself from its Softbank-roots, which ceased to be a Limited Partner (LP) in the firm, since 2004.

Elevation (formerly SAIF Partners) raised its Fund V and VI worth $350 million each in 2014 and 2017 respectively. It had raised its first India-focused fund in 2010, also worth $350 million.

“SAIF has been a well-respected legacy brand. We have had conversations every 12-24 months to re-brand ourselves to something which represents us, instead of attaching us to our legacy. With Softbank being an active investor in India, it created a confusion, and we wanted to press reset from a brand ‘positioning’ point of view, coupled with our fundraise. There will be a bit of a transition period, but nothing else changes in our functioning apart from our brand identity,” said Ravi Adusumalli, managing partner, Elevation Capital in an interview.

Besides Adusumalli, investments from Elevation’s newest fund would be led and managed by the firm’s five managing directors – Deepak Gaur, Mayank Khanduja, Mridul Arora, Mukul Arora and Vivek Mathur.

Elevation, which pegs itself as an early-stage fund, and enters at seed to Series A stages, will write average cheque sizes of $3 million to $5 million in Indian startups, while doubling down on segments of SaaS, Edtech, gaming and consumer brands.

The VC firm will also back startups which are bringing digitisation to the offline seller economy, through accounting or invoicing software, or getting new markets to online commerce.

Capital from Fund VII will be used to make new investments and for follow-on capital required for those companies. Elevation said that it sees 3-5 companies from its portfolio going public in the next 2-3 years.

Elevation has already made more than 100 investments in India, and has seen more than 20 (full to partial) exits so far, including 5 initial public offerings (IPOs) within its portfolio.

Some of the notable names in its portfolio, which have successfully gone public include – MakeMyTrip, and JustDial, in which the VC firm was an early backer.

“As Elevation, we come in as early partners to a startup, with conviction and a long-term orientation. As a fund, we think of our companies as ‘one-of-one’, meaning that we won’t be making any competing investments in the space. Once we invest we are all in, and want our portfolio to be assertive and bold,” said Mayank Khanduja, managing director at Elevation Capital.

With multiple Indian startups, aiming towards a public offering in the short-term, Elevation believes that India’s startup ecosystem will potentially see 10-15 IPOs in the next 2-3 years. This is owing to the fact that several companies have managed to correct their balance sheets, curbed costs and losses making them more capital efficient, Adusumalli said.

Until August, Elevation had already doubled its investment count this year, to 15 deals in 2020, 13 of which were early-stage startups.

In August, Sequoia India also announced receiving commitments totalling $1.35 billion from limited partners for two new India- and South-East Asia (SEA)-focussed funds—a $525-million venture fund, and a $825-million growth fund. The same month, Lightspeed India Partners Advisors LLP also announced raising a $275-million fund, its third, as it continued to focus on early- and growth-stage investments.

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.