Oyo, Byju’s backer Lightspeed eyes around $1 bn AUM in India with new VC fund

 Oyo, Byju’s backer Lightspeed eyes around $1 bn AUM in India with new VC fund

Early-stage venture capital firm Lightspeed, which has backed startups such as Byju’s, Oyo and ShareChat, is back in the market to scoop up a new fund to invest in India.

Lightspeed initially invested in India through its global funds, and launched its first India-dedicated fund of $135 million only in 2015. In 2018, it added another $175 million with its second India-focussed investment vehicle. It raised $275 million for its new fund to invest in early-stage startups in India in September 2020.

The VC firm has now floated its fourth fund, as per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It did not disclose how much it is aiming at but given its previous India-dedicated funds, it is likely to be in the $350-500 million. This would take its total assets under management from the India-focused funds to around $1 billion or more.

Lightspeed joins a bunch of other VC firms in floating or raising new VC funds for India. As first reported by The Capital Quest earlier this month, Matrix Partners has also floated a new VC fund.

Elevation Capital raised $670 million for a new fund to invest in Indian startups. This came just 18 months after it announced the final close of its fourth India-dedicated fund at $400 million. At $670 million, this fund is a tad bigger than what Accel aims to raise for a new India VC fund. But it would be way behind Sequoia, which raised $2.85 billion to invest in India and Southeast Asia.

Nexus Ventures had floated a new fund last year to raise $450 million. Later, a Nexus co-founder passed away while another moved on from an active fund management role. Nexus is yet to formally announce any fundraising milestones.

Lightspeed’s first Indian portfolio firm was online education company TutorVista Global Pvt. Ltd, which was acquired by Pearson. It was also one of the early investors in branded budget hotels marketplace Oyo.

The VC firm’s portfolio also includes ed-tech firm Byju’s, B2B marketplace Udaan and social networking platform ShareChat. Interestingly, Byju’s later acquired TutorVista from Pearson.

Elevations, strategy

Lightspeed recently elevated three executives, Shuvi Shrivastava and Rahul Taneja in India and Pinn Lawjindakul in Singapore, as partners.

Earlier this year, it created a dedicated growth equity team to invest in mid- to late-stage ventures and opened its third India office, in Mumbai. Lightspeed already had offices in Delhi and Bangalore.

The new office is led by Aditya Sharma and supported by Anuvrat Jain and Shreyam Desai. All three joined Lightspeed last year. They are part of the growth equity team looking after India and Southeast Asia.

Vivek Sinha

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