Sequoia Capital leads Hurun’s Indian unicorn investors’ list

The Sequoia Capital Logo is displayed on an iPhone screen. Photo: DEALSTREETASIA

Sequoia Capital India, the Indian arm of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, has invested in eight Indian unicorns so far, making it the top unicorn investor in the country, according to the latest list released by Hurun Research Institute.

Unicorn is a term used to describe a privately-held firm that is valued at $1 billion or above.

The investment firm made bets in edtech firms Byju’s and Unacademy, ride-hailing firm Ola Cabs, food delivery firm Zomato, Oyo Rooms, SaaS firms Druva and Freshworks, and grocery delivery startup BigBasket.

Sequoia Capital made its debut in India in 2006, closing seven funds in the country so far. Last month, the firm announced its intention to invest $1.35 billion through a venture fund of $525 million and a growth fund of $825 million.

Sequoia closed its sixth India fund at $695 million in August 2018. Its fifth vehicle raised $920 million in 2016. The latest fund marks the first time the VC firm has split the corpus into two vehicles – one for early-stage and another for growth-stage investments.

With the new funds, Sequoia India’s total assets under management have risen to over $5.78 billion.

The Hurun India Top Unicorn Investors List 2020 compiles all the investment firms that have invested into three or more India-based unicorns as of 20th August 2020, with 18 investors making it to the list based on that qualification alone.

The list is Hurun’s first attempt in showcasing the success stories of investors who have endorsed their trust in unicorns from India, according to the report.

“The success of these investors goes on to show that Indian HNIs should actively start allocating part of their portfolio towards startups,” said Anas Rahman Junaid, Hurun Report India managing director and chief researcher.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp and asset management firm Steadview Capital took the second spot backing seven unicorn investments each. Multi-stage investment SAIF Partners invested in six unicorns while Matrix Partners and Nexus Ventures Partners have invested in five.

SoftBank gained 60 per cent returns on its $2.5-billion investment in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart, making it one of the biggest achievements of the Masayoshi Son-led firm in the Indian market.

The firm’s Indian unicorn portfolio includes Paytm, OYO Rooms, Ola Cabs, Delhivery, FirstCry, Lenskart, and PolicyBazaar.

Hurun India said the list was compiled by studying the regulatory filings of the unicorns and pertains to current unicorns only. For instance, investment into Flipkart has not been considered for the report as the firm is no longer a unicorn.

By the end of 2019, boasts of having 27 unicorns, making it the third-largest unicorn hub after the US and China.

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.