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Tiger Global’s Scott Shleifer 'very bullish' on India amid global tech rout

Tiger Global, though bullish, is not comfortable writing late-stage cheques just yet. It will continue to play in the early stage phase and India is expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of Tiger Global’s new fund

Bengaluru / November 23, 2022 / 08:00 AM IST

Scott Shleifer, Tiger Global Management’s private investment head, came down to India earlier this week to meet founders, portfolio startups and investors in the country as the New York-based hedge fund looks to double down on its private market bets in India, a kind that has bolstered its overall portfolio amid falling tech valuations of public and private companies across the globe.

Shleifer met investors and also interacted with top executives of its biggest private market companies, multiple people aware of the matter told Moneycontrol. Shleifer was in Bengaluru on November 21 and invited executives from the city and also from other cities like Delhi and Gurugram.

People who met Shleifer say he is 'very bullish' about India and sees it as ‘silver-lining,’ as the hedge fund company’s US bets are turning sour, the people said requesting anonymity.

“Shleifer wanted to get a sense of the investment sentiment in India as Tiger Global continues to remain extremely bullish on internet companies in the country,” said one of the people quoted above.

“Alex Cook was here earlier this year. He also met founders and early-stage investors and (Tiger Global’s) partners from India who accompanied him for these meetings. They are meeting portfolio companies to understand their problems” the person added.

It is learnt he told people he met here that Tiger Global's private investments in India are doing ‘extremely well' and are acting as a cushion for the hedge fund company's public portfolio in the country that includes listed unicorns like Zomato, PB Fintech, Delhivery, and Nasdaq-listed Freshworks among others.

"He indicated that his private market bets in India were a saviour", one of the persons cited above said.

Shares of Zomato and Freshworks have halved since the start of this year, while those of PB Fintech have dropped nearly 60 percent. Delhivery’s shares have fallen close to 40 percent since its listing in May.

Moreover, Tiger Global's Deep Verma will be visiting India next week, and will be in New Delhi and Bengaluru to meet top executives and investors in the city, the people quoted above said. Griffin Schroeder, head of consumer internet investing, will also meet investors and executives from Tiger Global’s portfolio companies, the people added.

Tiger Global did not respond to queries sent by Moneycontrol.

Tiger Global, though bullish, is not comfortable writing late-stage cheques just yet. It will continue to play in the early stage phase and India is expected to be among the biggest beneficiaries of Tiger Global’s new fund, people close to the development said. The New York-based hedge fund company was in talks to raise $6 billion in its new venture fund, Bloomberg had reported in October.

The new fund’s size was slashed to $6 billion from $8 billion initially, the report said. The report also said that Tiger Global would be investing in enterprise companies through the new fund and ‘largely in India.’

In May, Tiger Global had told its investors that more than half of the fund’s investments were in Series A or Series B rounds, typically the first or second big financings for private tech companies, from its newest and largest venture capital fund of nearly $13 billion it had raised in March.

Tiger Global had also upped its Series A bets in India more than three-fold this year. The hedge fund company had participated in Series A rounds of 10 companies, totalling $377.4 million in the first six months of 2022, against three companies in rounds totalling $75.7 million in the whole of 2021.

Alex Cook, another partner at Tiger Global, based out of New York, who manages many investments in India, has come down to the country at least twice this year. In August, Cook met early-stage investors including Sequoia Capital India, Accel, and 3one4 Capital, among others, Moneycontrol had reported.

Tiger Global’s optimism towards early-stage investments in India comes at a time when many early-stage investors, including some of the country’s largest and most aggressive, like Sequoia Capital, Accel, Elevation Capital, Westbridge Capital, Rocketship VC, Fireside Ventures and Matrix Partners, among others, have either raised or are in the process of raising their largest-ever India-focused funds.

Early-stage investments have already grown by close to 40 percent in the first nine months of 2022 to $4.23 billion, according to data by Tracxn.

Tiger Global has been one of India’s most aggressive tech investors and has minted close to 40 unicorns out of 106 in the country to date.

Tiger Global has backed unicorns across sectors in 2022, like neo-banking platform Open, gaming platform Games 24x7, small and medium enterprises lending marketplace Oxyzo Financial Services, Web 3.0 infrastructure Polygon and social commerce platform Dealshare.

With inputs from Deepsekhar Choudhury
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Nikhil Patwardhan
Chandra R Srikanth is Editor- Tech, Startups, and New Economy