Facebook is eyeing minority stakes in various Indian startups under a unique programme as the company usually pursues majority stake or full ownership in other markets.
“Facebook does not do minority investments anywhere in the world… an extremely unique Indian programme… The idea is to accelerate this even more,” Ajit Mohan, VP and MD, Facebook India told The Times of India.
The investments would likely be in 'new-age companies' through the traditional venture capital funding (VC) and private equity (PE) route, the report said. Sources told the paper that cheques would range within $20-25 million for 'growth-stage startups'.
Mohan said there is no limit on the intended investments, but would focus on inclusion and internet benefits beyond large cities.
Facebook’s recent investments were in edu-tech startup Unacademy with General Atlantic in February and in social-commerce startup Meesho with Prosus (formerly Naspers) in June last year. Mohan said both these service Tier II and III markets.
Prior to these, the company acquired Hyderabad-based performance analytics startup Little Eye Labs in 2014. The company also runs incubator programme tied with VC funds Fireside Ventures and SAIF Partners.
US-based Google and Facebook have lagged behind Chinese giants Tencent and Alibaba as active startup investors in India, who have invested over $1 billion in multiple unicorns.
Facebook has a large customer base in India, with the platform counting 260 million users as of January, while WhatsApp has 400 million monthly active users, data from Statista showed.