Indian VC firm WaterBridge secures final close of second VC fund at $150m

Photo: Bloomberg

WaterBridge Ventures, which has invested in Unacademy, Atlan, Magicpin, Bijnis and CityMall, has marked the final close of its second fund at $150 million, said Manish Kheterpal, managing partner at the early-stage venture capital firm.

The second fund seeks to invest $500,000 to $3 million each in 25 startups across seed and Series A rounds. It will also reserve capital for follow-on investments in best-performing companies. The fund has made 10 bets already, Kheterpal said. WaterBridge has more than $250 million in assets under management, he added.

The second fund’s corpus is higher than the initial target of $100 million and is larger than its first fund, which closed at $30 million in early 2018.

High investor interest in the Indian startup ecosystem has led to the creation of 37 unicorns this year compared with just 11 in 2020. Venture capital firms such as A91 Partners and Stellaris Venture Partners have increased their fund targets in recent times.

A91 Partners, floated by former Sequoia Capital executives, has marked the final close of its second fund at $550 million.

WaterBridge’s second fund is equally split between global and domestic limited partners (LPs). LPs in the fund include institutional investors, family offices from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Middle East, the US and India, Kheterpal said. The second fund has LPs such as Sidbi’s fund of funds, an Asian fund of funds and a sovereign family office from the Middle East.

LPs in the fund also include CXOs of tech companies like BigBasket, EXL, IndiaMART, RateGain and Teleperformance, besides senior partners of KKR, GIC, TCV, Providence and Vitruvian Partners.

Kheterpal said 75% of the first fund LPs invested in the second fund as well.

WaterBridge was founded by Kheterpal and his former colleague from Actis private equity, Ashish Jain, in 2016.

Anjali Sosale, one of the few women in a leadership role in the venture capital industry, joined WaterBridge as a partner in 2020, when the second fund was being launched.

Jain said WaterBridge has developed a top-down sector thesis-driven approach that has allowed it to make early bets in future category leaders.

The VC firm has invested in global themes with investments in SaaS business Atlan, and Canadian digital pharmacy PocketPills, which has an Indian product development team, Jain added.

WaterBridge is also focused on Bharat or small-town India with investments in Chalo, a bus mobility business operating in tier-2 and 3 towns, and rural healthcare focused startup Medcords, Jain said.

The 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.