Venture Catalysts is top investor of 2017; pumps in ₹315 crore

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018

Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, P resident, Venture Catalysts

The network of 3,000 angel investors closed 33 deals this year

Early-stage investment firm Venture Catalysts has topped the Indian start-up funding chart by closing 33 deals worth ₹315 crore in 2017, about 10 times that of 2016.

According to data from start-up research firm Tracxn, Venture Catalysts, a network of about 3,000 angel investors, started in 2016, has over-taken investment networks such as Indian Angel Network, LetsVenture and Kae Capital and 16 others this year.

Blume Ventures closed the year at second position with about 23 deals, followed by Kae Capital and Indian Angel Network at 16 and 15 deals, respectively, according to data from Tracxn.

Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, co-founder and President, Venture Catalysts, told BusinessLine that the firm has been working closely with angel investors and high-potential ventures, giving them a chance to achieve rapid growth and scale by enabling access to technology, as well as mentorship, business networking and investment opportunities. However, he added that the need of the hour is support from the government for start-ups and angel investors.

Boost to ecosystem

“India has been emerging as a unicorn nation, and has the potential to be the start-up hub of the world in the near future. Realising this potential will require all stakeholders to come together and join forces to give the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem a big boost.”

He further added that high networth individuals (HNIs) from across tier II and III cities are becoming increasingly involved within the entrepreneurial landscape as angel investors, closely mirroring the start-up investment trends in the US. This has also led to grabbing of more deals this year.

“Only 3 per cent of US citizens were investing in start-ups in 1980, the percentage increased to 49 per cent by 1999. This was the time when many unicorns, including Amazon, emerged in the US. India is also in a similar trajectory, and we are trying to create a pan-India network and provide early-stage capital to start-ups even in the smaller cities,” Sharma said, adding that the firm has invested in markets such as Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat and Jaipur.

In just about a year, Venture Catalysts claims to have spread its wing and funded start-ups in about seven cities in India and two overseas. The firm has invested in over 20 start-ups, including vPhrase, Deyor Camps, ConfirmTkt, Fynd, Supr Daily and Innov8, with an average investment ticket size of ₹1-5 crore. The firm also made successful exits this year. In March, it exited photo-curation platform Siftr by selling its stakes to Chinese firm APUS. In the same month, it exited from Ahmedabad-based men’s grooming products start-up Beardo, which was acquired by Marico Group for about ₹50 crore. The company is looking to make about 3-4 exits in the coming year.

Talking about its investment strategy in small-town start-ups, Sharma said start-ups in smaller towns have low talent and operational costs compared with their peers in the metros, and hence are able to achieve better unit economics and turn profitable faster.

Published on December 25, 2017

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