There’s another new startup fountain in town in India, after Helion Venture Partners announced its fourth fund worth $300 million.
Helion is the latest in a flurry of firms to raise money for investments in fast-growing India. Accel last month announced a $305 million fund, while Tiger Global, Sequoia, SoftBank, SAIF, Lightbox VC, and smaller players like 500 Startups and Blume Ventures have each committed money to the country over the past year.
With its new fund, Helion — which includes Housing.com, TaxiForSure, and Komli among its portfolio — is again targeting early to mid stage tech startups in India. Typical investments will range from $1 million to $10 million, and the fund is expected to last for three to four years, according to Helion co-founder Sanjeev Aggarwal.
The fourth fund is around the same size as Helion’s third fund. Despite the fact that India’s startup and investment scene has taken off in a major way this year, the company resisted the temptation to raise more in order to stick to its niche, Aggarwal explained in an interview with TechCrunch.
“We really understand the early stage investment space best, and we want to stay within our zone of competency. Larger pools of capital give a high possibility of strategy drift,” he said.
Helion, which was founded in 2009, will put around three-quarters of the fund towards startups that are helping digitize the national economy, for example those involved in retail, travel, insurance and, loans, Aggarwal said. The remainder will be set aside for Indian companies with the potential to do business globally, for example analytics, enterprise software and other “next generation outsourcing businesses.”
In addition to the growth in smartphones and mobile internet in India, Helion co-founder Aggarwal said other factors are helping India’s startup market mature.
“The quality of entrepreneurs has raised,” he said. “Previously many graduates preferred a career doing consulting or investment banking, but that is shifting in favor of entrepreneurship. And now people have aspirations to build products from India for the globe.”
That makes for more fertile grounds for VC firms, and Helion believes that its brand — a VC company set up by entrepreneurs with founders and managing execs as partners — helps it empathize with entrepreneurs.
“We have a unique portfolio services team, which work with entrepreneurs post-investment — a lot of founders are younger and need help scaling,” Aggarwal explained.