OYO, Ola backer Sequoia not SoftBank is India’s biggest unicorn investor; backed this many top startups

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Updated: August 26, 2020 3:24 PM

With seven unicorn investments, Japan’s SoftBank was the second in the tally followed by the UK’s Steadview Capital with seven investments in Ola, Lenskart, Policy Bazaar, Unacademy, Dream11, Nykaa, and Freskworks.

SAIF Partners at fourth and Matrix Partners along with Nexus Venture Partners were at fifth position in the Hurun India Unicorn Investors 2020 list.

Prominent startup backer Sequoia has emerged as the biggest backer of unicorns having invested in as many as eight such startups including Byju’s, OYO, Ola, Zomato, and Unacademy on the B2C side and Druva, Mu Sigma, and Freshworks on the enterprise or SaaS side, according to a report published by Hurun on Wednesday for leading investors in Indian unicorns. With seven unicorn investments including Paytm, OYO Rooms, Ola Cabs, Delhivery, FirstCry, Lenskart, PolicyBazaar, Japan’s SoftBank was the second in the tally. The UK’s Steadview Capital also backed seven unicorns such as Ola Cabs, Lenskart, PolicyBazaar, Unacademy, Dream11, Nykaa, Freshworks. SAIF Partners was at fourth with six investments — Paytm, Paytm Mall, Swiggy, FirstCry, Rivigo, and Unacademy, and Matrix Partners was at fifth in the ranking with five investments — Ola Cabs, Zomato, Ola Electric, Freshworks, BigBasket. Nexus Venture Partners and Tiger Global had also backed five unicorns.

“These investors play a significant role in accelerating the creation of new wealth in India. The success of these investors goes on to show that Indian HNIs should actively start allocating part of their portfolio towards start-ups,” said Anas Rahman Junaid, Hurun Report India MD and Chief Researcher.

Also read: Accel allows startups to learn from founders of Swiggy, CureFit, Urban Company, others; launches platform

The other top investors investing in three or more unicorns were ABG Capital based in the US, Alibaba, Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates with four investments each followed by Accel, Bennett Coleman and Company, Bessemer India, Chiratae Ventures, General Atlantic Singapore, IFC, Mauritius-based LTR Focus Fund, and China’s Tencent with three investments each. The cut-off date used for studying the investment structures of unicorns for preparing the list was August 20, 2020.

Sequoia made its debut in India back in 2006 and has so far raised seven funds. Last month, it announced securing investors’ commitment of $1.35 billion to its two new funds– $525 million venture fund and an $825 million growth fund. The firm invests across seed, venture, and growth stages, and with the new fund, it would continue to invest across India and Southeast Asia. SoftBank, on the other hand, known for backing investors for aggressive growth to capture markets early on had gained 60 per cent returns on its $2.5 billion investment in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart’s buyout by Walmart in 2018. The other investor in the top three — Steadview Capital had made its debut deal in Urban Ladder back in 2014. The firm had last backed SaaS startup Freshworks with $85 million in July and beauty e-tailer Nykaa with Rs 100 crore in April this year.

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