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Bertelsmann India announces $500-million fund for startups

For 2022-23, BII says it plans to focus investments in healthtech, enterprisetech, future of work, fintech and agritech, and also explore disruptive technologies like Web3 and deeptech.

June 29, 2022 / 01:06 PM IST

Bertelsmann India Investments (BII), the venture capital arm of German media company Bertelsmann, has announced a $500-million fund for new companies as well as follow-on investments.

The fund, a part of the group-wide “Boost 25” strategy, will focus on Series A to D investments. It comes at a time when early-stage funding seems to be gathering momentum in India even as late-stage funding is slowing.

“We are very pleased to be more than doubling our investment under the new Bertelsmann Boost program. Based on our increased allocation of $500 million, we expect to make six to eight new investments a year, for the next five years. We aim to connect with founders early,” Pankaj Makkar, Managing Director at Bertelsmann India Investments, said on June 28.

The company was looking to invest between $5 billion and $7.5 billion by 2025 to boost the group’s revenues and profits, a statement said.

For 2022 and 2023, BII would focus investments in healthtech, enterprisetech, future of work, fintech, and agritech, while exploring disruptive technologies like Web3 and deeptech. The fund was also planning to open more offices in India and the region.

“Today, mid-stage funding in India and the region has transitioned into the early growth stage with multiple disruptive startups building such an ecosystem. With a decade of experience, we have witnessed that founders and companies are exhibiting maturity at an early stage. No doubt, the industry landscape is changing and we are ready to dive in,” Makkar said.

Launched in 2013, BII says it has invested about $285 million in over 17 companies. Its portfolio investments include Eruditus, Licious, Shiprocket, Pepperfry, AgroStar, Lendingkart, among others.

BII joins the likes of Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India, another aggressive tech investor in India, to expand its early-stage bets, suggesting that appetite for early-stage investments in the country is rising after it hit a 12-month low in May.

Moneycontrol wrote on June 29 that Tiger Global Management, one of the world’s most prolific tech investors, has upped its Series A bets in India this year.

Last week, Sequoia Capital India said it was extending the seed-level funding range for its investments through Surge, its start-up accelerator programme to as much as $3 million.

Other global venture capital (VC) firms, including Matrix Partners, and Accel, which invest aggressively in early stages, also raised their largest-ever funds for Indian start-ups this year.

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Mansi Verma
Mansi Verma