Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is betting big on India’s fast-growing internet market and has set aside a $500 million fund to back local startups. It has also started building a team in India to explore investment opportunities.
India currently has 100 unicorns – startups with a valuation of $1 billion above. The startup space has also attracted the attention of global tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon that have collectively deployed around $20 billion over the past decade, and are actively looking for more startups.
TechCrunch reported that Andreessen Horowitz’s partners, including Seema Amble and Sumeet Singh, have already been engaging with several Indian startups, including an opinion sharing platform and Bengaluru-headquartered early-stage fintech.
To explore more opportunities, the firm is looking to hire for several investment roles in the country, the publication reported.
Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z), last year led a funding round in India’s fast-growing cryptocurrency exchange CoinSwitch Kuber.
The firm revealed in January that it raised $9 billion to invest in a wide range of startups, completing one of the largest fundraising campaigns in venture capital. It had then said that the money is parked in three new funds with more than half sitting in a growth fund targeting more mature startups.
The rest of the money was distributed between a general venture fund and one specializing in biotech and health, it had said.
The publication reported that Andreessen Horowitz may make an investment in the startup, which operates an opinion sharing platform, at a valuation of about $250 million. The startup could be Twitter India rival, Koo, which last year secured investment from Balaji Srinivasan, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, along with Naval Ravikant, as per a separate report by Inc42.
Notably, Lightspeed India Venture Partners is also looking to raise over $500 million for its fourth India fund, according to media reports.
Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed are not the only venture funds that are getting aggressive in India. SoftBank too has increased its focus having invested more than $3 billion in Indian startups last year, and has plans to invest up to $10 billion this year.
The $100-billion fund by Softbank tweaked its strategy for the Indian market last year to explore smaller and early-stage investments. The fund previously made big-ticket investments in consumer internet firms like Oyo Hotels & Homes, Delhivery, Grofers, Ola, Paytm and PolicyBazaar.
Firms like TBessemer Venture Partners, General Catalyst, Insight Partners, B Capital, Ribbit Capital, Dragoneer, D1 and James Murdoch’s Bodhi Tree have also been increasing their focus on the Indian market.