Startups in India and Southeast Asia (SEA) backed by venture capital firm Sequoia India would now be able to leverage the experience and learnings of other startups in the VC firm’s portfolio to scale up. Sequoia on Tuesday announced a six-month programme called The Guild that would have a cohort of 12-16 founders meeting twice a month to share their experiences and learnings “in their quest to build the world’s most enduring companies,” Shailendra J Singh, Managing Director, Sequoia Capital wrote in a LinkedIn blog announcing the programme. Launching in October 2020, the programme, in a way, intends to help every growing startup in Sequoia’s portfolio become a multi-billion-dollar business.
“The Guild is our new startup, co-created with some of the most innovative and dynamic founders in India and SEA. It’s one more step in the pursuit of our mission to help the daring build legendary companies, from idea to IPO and beyond,” Singh added. Out of more than 200 startups in its portfolio, Sequoia India and SEA currently has 43 companies each having annualised revenues between $50 million to over $1 billion. Each cohort will focus on one or two sectors that the founders belong to beginning with consumer internet and mobile sector. The following cohorts will have founders from SaaS, fintech, B2B, consumer and other segments.
Sequoia had last year in January launched its in-house 16-week accelerator programme Surge for Indian and SEA startups and also to offer $1-2 million in seed funding. The fourth cohort of the programme will begin on November 19 while the fifth cohort will roll out in May 2021. In 2018, Blume Ventures had partnered with the US-based Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV) and Emergent Ventures to launch its own accelerator for B2B startups called Arka Venture Labs. Also back in 2014, Infosys co-founders Kris Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal had launched Bengaluru-based Axilor Ventures to fund and accelerate early-stage startups.
Sequoia has been among the top tier venture capital firms in India and was recently announced as the biggest backer of unicorns with investments in eight such companies including Byju’s, OYO, Ola, Zomato, Unacademy, Druva, Mu Sigma, and Freshworks, according to a Hurun report. Japan’s SoftBank, UK’s Steadview Capital, SAIF Partners, Nexus Venture Partners and Tiger Global were other top unicorn backers