A Mumbai-based network of angel investors, Venture Catalyst is planning three exits in the next two months as it expands internationally into the Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong, the US, and Japan by 2018-end.
The firm has invested in 20 startups in India to date and has had a successful exit in March in Beardo, a men’s grooming products startup.
The company made its exit and entry out of Indian Subcontinent with an idea is to create a cross-learning between startups in each of these countries and also to open up funding channels for Indian companies.
In India, the firm claims to have a network of high net worth investors including Anirudh Damani, founder of Artha Venture Partners, Daud Ali, managing director of Peacock Industries, Neeraj Shah, founder of Titan Masterminds, Nirav Choksi, chairman of HHC Holdings, Ritesh Malik co-founder and CEO of Innov8 and Sameer Shah of Sattva Investments, among others.
The seed investment and innovation platform is now scouting for innovative startups in geographies beyond India. It has already kicked-off its expansion into Qatar, which will be a center point for the company to create its presence into other GCC countries, such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. For its expansion into the Middle-East region, Venture Catalyst has partnered with a local investment partner in the GCC countries – 360-Nautica.
For its expansion into Hong Kong, the company has partnered with Cyberport, a platform with close to 900 digital tech companies. It is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company, which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government. Cyberport focuses on key clusters of digital technology, namely FinTech, e-commerce, IoT and wearables, and Big Data, as well as AI.
Notwithstanding the political sanctions pertaining to the Middle-East, Sharma feels that the region has a growing ecosystem of innovative startups and “we want to be present there in early stages.” He also said that the expansion will strengthen the financial and innovation ecosystem between the Middle-East and India.
In the US, Venture Catalyst has partnered with Silicon Valley-based venture fund, innovation platform, and a startup accelerator with success stories that includes PayPal, Dropbox, and SoundHound.
Venture Catalyst claims that about 200 investors will join its platform in each of these countries to invest Rs 3-6 crore in early stage startups, a similar funding structure that it carries out in India. The key high growth sectors Venture Catalyst has identified are healthcare, FMCG, retail, and technology.