As the funding crunch continues, debt capital provider BlackSoil has hit the $300-million milestone in venture debt deals, across more than 100 start-ups and growth companies.

In Q1FY23, it invested $40 million in six deals, including two unicorns, and posted its highest ever year-on-year (YoY) growth of 4x times, and a 55 per cent Y-o-Y growth in AUM. Besides, growth across its portfolio companies has resulted in seven successful complete exits in the quarter. Its investee companies are said to have raised over $7 billion through equity, including $1.5 billion in FY22 itself.

Given the bearish trend in the capital markets, cash has been in short supply for start-ups. Equity investors are operating with extra caution as the pace of deals as well as successful exits has slowed down in recent months. However, as startups’ quest for capital and investors’ hunt for safer investment avenues continue, venture debt providers such as BlackSoil are quickly emerging as preferred partners for both these groups. In 2022, many late-stage start-ups have partnered with debt capital providers.

“In the short-term, funding on the equity side is likely to diminish significantly across sectors. We remain bullish on venture debt as the ideal alternative to equity in the current scenario. Hence, market positioning, robustness of the underlying business model, the cash conservative nature of businesses, positive unit metrics and longer runways are some of the key metrics we evaluate before taking a bet, irrespective of the sector they operate in,” said Ankur Bansal, Co-Founder & Director of BlackSoil.

BlackSoil currently manages an alternative credit platform consisting of an RBI-registered NBFC as well as a SEBI-registered AIF/ Fund. Through the multiple platforms, it has built a quality loan book by deploying $300+ million across 130 deals and having an AUM of $100+ million. Some of BlackSoil’s investments include 9 unicorns – Upstox, Slice, Mobikwik, Udaan, Infra.Market, Zetwerk, OYO Rooms, Spinny & Purplle – along with other prominent companies such as roll-up play cloud kitchen company Curefoods, a pioneer in the BNPL segment Zestmoney, and EV ride-hailing space Blu-Smart, amongst others.

The company is backed by marquee family offices with a combined market cap of more than $2 billion, including Shashi Kiran Shetty, Chairman of AllCargo Logistics; Gnanesh D Gala, Managing Director of Navneet Education; Mathew Cyriac, ex-Blackstone India MD & Founder of Florintree Advisors – an alternative investment firm that has made investments in MTAR Technologies, Gokaldas Exports, Data Patterns; and Virendra Gala, founder of Mahavir Realty