Venture capitalists, private equities bullish on India

Singapore, Oct 1: Venture capitalists and private equities are bullish on long-term projects in India from investment-intensive power generating plants to financing opportunities in the fast expanding network of grassroots shops.

"The Indian market is going to be a second or third largest Venture capitalist (VC) markets in the world," said Sid Talwar, a partner at Lightbox, which has invested USD 50 million in 2015 of the USD 200 million planned for India.

"We will continue to see VC investments in the range of USD 7-USD 10 billion a year in India," he estimated, pointing out that India received USD 7 billion VC funds last year, USD 6.5 billion of which came from overseas investors.

India also topped as the receiver of private equities (PE) funding, beating China for the first time last year, added Anand Prakash, managing director at ACP Climate Partners, a PE which made USD 20 million commitment in cold-chain and logistics company ColdEX in March this year.

As green investor, he singled out renewable sector, pointing out that a quarter, or USD 50 billion, would come from PEs for USD 200 billion required for the government target of 200,000-MW solar and wind energy in five years.

"Most Kirana shops want to move into digital age," added David Gowdey, managing partner at Jungle Venture Pte Ltd in Singapore, which has invested in India's SnapBizz helping enhance the businesses of grass roots shops. Gowdey sees the small Kirana shops having their logistics managed through digitised and internet network, link with  bigger grocery stores and have an app each for taking orders and making deliveries for big supply chains.

Backing these bullish sentiments, Mumbai-based Indian Quotient is in the midst of launching a USD 100 million fund raising exercise in India and South East Asia.

The fund will be for Indian Quotient's investments in India, said its General Partner Anand Lonia at the inaugural Asia PE-VC Summit 2016 held in Singapore yesterday. 

Having invested USD 50 million in a number of start-ups, including automobile Droom last year, Lightbox is expected to make another round of commitments in one or two companies this year, said Talwar.

"We are (now) looking to invest in a sizeable renewable energy company with capacity of 1,000-MW (in India)," said ACP's Prakash who is putting together USD 150-USD 200 million with another co-investor.

These investments are building the bases of various sectors from grass roots to medium-size projects while heavyweight investors, including Softbank and Tiger Global, are funding major infrastructure projects, said delegates at the one-day Summit, which was organised by Deal Street Asia and Mint Asia.