"2016 was the hardest year, and that is behind us. 2017 will be a better year. There was a crunch in investment dollars, especially Series C and Series D investments," Varsha Tagare, senior director, Qualcomm Ventures India told PTI.
PM Narendra Modi’s start-up India drive failed to ease into cruise mode after being kickstarted by the PM early into his premiership. But things are likely to change now, says Qualcomm Ventures. The venture investment arm of US-based chip maker Qualcomm Inc which has a $150 million India-focused fund, expects 2017 to be a better year for the startup ecosystem, especially early stage companies.
“2016 was the hardest year, and that is behind us. 2017 will be a better year. There was a crunch in investment dollars, especially Series C and Series D investments,” Varsha Tagare, senior director, Qualcomm Ventures India told PTI.
“Funding in early stage is not gone down, but there is more selective funding. What is needed is more well-defined companies after the early stage,” she said. The USD 150 million fund will be our only funding vehicle for the venture firm, she said.
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She pointed out that the ecosystem in India is quite mature, as there are several early stage accelerators and incubators, attached to established educational institutes like IITs and IIMs as well as several corporations, including Microsoft, that have set up venture arms.
Qualcomm has been investing in Indian startups since 2007 and more than 20 Indian companies, including Portea, MapMyIndia, Reverie Language Technologies, and Capillary Technologies, are part of its portfolio.
“We at Qualcomm primarily invest in technology companies, within which verticals like consumer, enterprise and healthcare technology look promising,” Tagare said. Qualcomm also runs a global seed investment competition Qprize as part of engagement with early stage entrepreneurs. Globally, Qualcomm Ventures has over USD 500 million in assets under management.
A startup, according to the government is one that has been incorporated as either a Private Limited Company or a Registered Partnership Firm or a Limited Liability Partnership whose turnover for any fiscal year has not exceeded Rs 25 crore and the entity should not have been formed by splitting up or reconstruction a business already in existence. Most importantly it should be working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialization of new product, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual property.
(With inputs from PTI)