The Indian arm of global venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners has, over the past decade, backed some of the country’s prominent start-ups, including Swiggy, UrbanCompany, Pharmeasy, and BigBasket, and remains bullish on the evolving local start-up ecosystem. 

Anant Vidur Puri, Partner, Bessemer Venture Partners, outlines the firm’s approach to investing for the long term and supporting start-ups through their entire journey of growth. Edited excerpts from an interview.


Can you describe the company’s investment strategy in India?

We started our operations in India in 2006 and began investing in technology-based companies in 2011. Over the years our investment strategies have evolved and newer roadmaps have been added. Software-as-a-service (SaaS), consumer internet and marketplaces, fintech, and healthtech are our four roadmaps currently. Based on the roadmap, we have an evaluation framework inclusive of pricing, customer acquisition, and go-to-market strategy. 

Our portfolio strategy is very concentrated — we invest, on average, in 2-4 start-ups a year. We aim to find companies that align with our roadmap and focus on investing more in those start-ups, as they grow. So far, we have made 65 investments, including Bharat Matrimony, Swiggy, UrbanCompany, BigBasket, Livspace, and Cashify. 


What is your preferred exit route?

Our preferred end goal is to take the companies public; however, this isn’t possible for all the companies we invest in, due to a variety of reasons. We sometimes exit when there is a good opportunity to get liquidity, like we did with Swiggy. We continue to opportunistically look for other exit opportunities as they come along, but we prefer to stay and make top-up investments till the end goal. So far, we have taken about eight companies public, including Home First Finance, IEX and


At which stage do you prefer to enter and what is the average cheque size?

We are stage-agnostic, as we enter at any stage ranging from seed to Series C. In our portfolio of investments, we have a range of companies that we have entered at various stages. It depends on which company fits into our roadmap strategy at the time. Our cheque size varies from $1 million to $25 million or higher, depending on the requirement.


Which are the newer areas of investment you’re looking at?

We will continue to invest according to our roadmap strategies and we do not plan to make any drastic changes to the roadmap. But our roadmaps have kept evolving and are now more specific. In the consumer internet and marketplaces segment, while we started by investing in B2B [business-to-business services], we now invest in B2C [business-to-consumer services] as well. In SaaS, AI-enabled productisation of services is the specific niche we have started looking at.