Exclusive: Spiral Ventures plans to deploy half of its new $50m fund in India

Photo: Mint

With plans of aggressively investing in India, Spiral Ventures (formerly IMJ Investment Partners), is targeting to deploy almost half of its latest South Asia and southeast Asia-focussed fund into the country.

The venture capital firm is aiming to hit the first close of this fund at around $10-$20 million next month with a target of finally closing it at $50 million next year, partner Yasuhiro Seo told DEALSTREETASIA in an interaction.

“It is a very positive time to enter into the Indian market. I see strong businesses and the valuations are very realistic, so now is a good time to invest in India,” said Seo.

The investment firm has also reached out to Indian investors to participate in its on-going fundraise, and has received positive feedback from them. According to Seo, Indian investors are keen to tap into Spiral Ventures’ reach and contacts in Japan.

Earlier this year, following a management buyout, IMJ rebranded and undertook an organisational restructuring resulting in it becoming a group under the Singapore-based corporation Spiral Ventures Pte Ltd.

The new structure consists of Spiral Ventures Asia Ltd, concentrating on investment activities in South Asia and Southeast Asia, while Spiral Ventures Japan LLP targets East Asia and Japan investments.

To source deals in India, Spiral Ventures has brought in a local partner Technology9labs, that describes itself as a ‘startup studio’.

“They source the deals for us, we then do due diligence and invest in the companies we think are right for us,” said Seo.

The company has already made a few investments in startups in India, such as consumer data analytics platform Crownit, through its existing fund. Going forward, it plans to make one investment in a month once it achieves the first close.

On whether Spiral Venutres would also consider a separate India-focussed fund, Seo said, “Maybe in the future. At this moment, we have one fund which will have 50 per cent allocation to India and the other half to Southeast Asia.”

Within India, the investment firm is keen on investing in tech-enabled startups in sectors healthcare, fintech, and online-to-offline platforms.

“For India, we will look to invest $100,000-300,000 at the first stage which would be feasible. We could follow up with a Series A or B stages but for new investments we want to stick to seed,” Seo added.

India has emerged as one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investors given the large untapped potential customer base and emerging startup ecosystem. Apart from Chinese giants Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu who are keen to invest in India, Japanese investment major SoftBank has also pumped in billions of dollars in the country recently. Beenext and Beenos are also among Asian investors that have been carrying out early-stage investments in India.

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