The most active corporate investor in the country was India's Times Group, followed by Qualcomm Ventures.
The promise of high-growth and a mobile-enabled population of 1.3B has helped India attract investors of all types to its tech ecosystem.
While India-based Blume Ventures takes the lead for most active venture capital investor in the country, corporate and CVC deals to the tech sector have risen every year since 2012.
Deals with corporate participation more than doubled between 2014 and 2015 and hit a peak last year of 190 deals. We used CB Insights data to dive deep into the activity of the top ten most active corporate investors into the country from 2012 to 9/19/17.
TOP TEN CORPORATE INVESTORS IN INDIA
The Times Group
The Times Group is often referred to as the nation’s largest media conglomerate. It operates some of the country’s largest publications, including The Times of India and Economic Times. In India, it invests through multiple engines, making it far and beyond the country’s most active corporate investor.
- As the Times Group, it has invested in e-wallet MobiKwik’s $50M Series C round in Q2’16. MobiKwik has $161.8M in total disclosed funding.
- It has also used this entity to invest in India’s most well-funded startup, e-commerce site Flipkart, participating in its $38.7M corporate minority round.
The Times Group also operates an internet subsidiary Times Internet that has made several investments.
- Times Internet has bet on Byju’s, India’s most well-funded edtech startup. Byju’s has also received investment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and WeChat-operator Tencent Holdings.
- Times Internet has also invested four times into end-to-end logistics startup Delhivery, across its Series A, B, C, and D rounds.
The Times Group also runs a strategic investment division called Brand Capital.
- Brand Capital has invested in taxi cab service Meru Cab Company, participating in its $25M Series A round in Q2’16.
- It has also financed a $20M convertible note to classifieds site and unicorn Quikr.
After the Times Group, the most active investor was Qualcomm Ventures, which functions as the corporate investment arm of San Diego-based Qualcomm. In September 2015, Qualcomm announced a commitment of $150M to startups in the country after meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Its investments include financing real estate portal Housing.com across two rounds. Housing is also backed by DST Global, SoftBank Group, and Nexus Venture Partners. After publicity crises with its founder, the startup was sold to real estate portal PropTiger in Q1’2017.
- The firm has also invested in on-demand services company HouseJoy, through its $22.5M round in Q4’15. HouseJoy has also had its share of founder controversies. In May 2017, its co-founders Arjun Kumar and Sunil Goel left the company. It also shut operations in 7 of the cities it once operated in in May 2017.
- Among its other investments are 2 rounds to startup media company YourStory.
Noida-based Info Edge owns multiple major internet businesses, including job portal Naukri, which filed for an IPO in 2006, and matrimonial site Jeevansathi. In September 2017, Info Edge’s valuation crossed $2B. The company is India’s second most active corporate investor.
- Info Edge’s big ticket investment is in restaurant discovery portal and unicorn Zomato across seed through Series F and Series G rounds, participating in a total of $159.4M worth of rounds to the company.
- It invested similarly in printing technology startup Canvera Digital, first participating in a $6.5M convertible note in August 2012, and then following on with two tranches of a Series B, a secondary market, and three tranches of a Series C. The company eventually bought Canvera Digital in Q3’17. Upon purchase, Canvera’s total financing was $21.4M.
One97 Communications + One97 Mobility Fund
Paytm-operator One97 Communications is one of India’s most well-funded startups and has raised $2.77B in total funding, with its latest financing provided in a $1.4B round from SoftBank Group. It’s also one of the most active corporate investors in the country.
- As One97, it has invested five times in auto-rickshaw logistics startup Jugnoo.
- It has also invested twice in grocery delivery startup BigBasket, first participating in a $230M Series E to the company in Q3’17 along with a secondary market deal.
One97 has also partnered with Hong Kong-based investor SAIF Partners, which is one of its investors, to create the One97 Mobility Fund. The Mobility Fund puts money into internet startups in India.
- Some of its investments include hyperlocal deals discovery site Little Internet. One97 then invested in the company through its main entity in Q3’2016 and eventually acquired it in Q3’2017.
Intel Capital is San Diego-based technology company Intel’s investment arm. It made the bulk of its investments in India in 2013, when it invested in seven different startups.
- It has invested twice in e-commerce site and unicorn Snapdeal across two different rounds, first in its $50M Series C in Q2’13 and then again in its $133.7M Series D in Q1’14.
- Its most recent investment was in Q2’17, when it participated in a $500K seed round to ExploreLifeTraveling. The startup operates like Airbnb, connecting travelers with locals who are renting their homes out.
E-commerce site and unicorn Flipkart, which is also the country’s most well-funded startup, has also been an active investor.
- It’s invested four times in B2B trucking platform BlackBuck, across its $6M Series A round in Q2’15, its $25M Series B in Q4’15, and two tranches of its Series C in Q1’17.
- It has invested three times into parenting social network Tinystep across three separate corporate minority rounds.
Bertelsmann India Investments
German multinational corporation Bertelsmann operates Bertelsmann India Investments (BII), which is the company’s strategic investment arm in India. BII has been investing in India since 2013. Although Bertelsmann is considered one of the world’s largest mass media companies, its investments in India are across diverse sectors and include no media bets.
- It has invested twice in loans marketplace Lendingkart, first in its $32M Series B in Q2’16 and then in its $10.5M Series C in Q3’17.
- It has invested in furniture marketplace Pepperfry’s Series C, D, and E rounds.
South African media company Naspers has been investing in emerging markets for several years. It bought classifieds site OLX in 2010, which is now operational in India.
- The bulk of its investments in India have gone to Flipkart, which it has funded across 5 rounds.
- Naspers has invested in food delivery company Swiggy, helping finance its $80M Series E round in Q2’17. It has also invested in Berlin-based food delivery service Delivery Hero.
Alibaba Group + Ant Financial Services
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is also active in the country. It operates an affiliate company Ant Financial that runs all-powerful Chinese payments platform Alipay. Together, the two have made a series of investments into India.
- Alibaba Group began investing in India in 2015, when it took a $200M corporate minority stake in One97 Communicatoins in Q1’15. Since then, the company has followed on with a $680M corporate minority stake in Q3’15 and a secondary market investment in Q1’2017. It has also participated in a $200M Series A to Paytm Mall, which is the company’s e-commerce site.
- Alibaba has also invested in e-commerce unicorn Snapdeal, participating in its $500M corporate minority round in Q3’15.
- Ant Financial has also invested into One97 Communications, across three corporate minority rounds, all in 2015, and a secondary market in 2017.
In 2016, IT and networking solutions company Cisco committed to invest $100M into Indian tech startups.
- It has made repeat investments into e-wallet MobiKwik, participating in two of its Series B tranches, and a $50M Series C round in Q2’2016.
- Outside of the Mobikwik investment in Q4’15, Cisco has reduced activity in India. Its most recent investment was in Airbnb-modeled ExploreLifeTraveling, which raised money from Intel Capital in the same round.
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