Bessemer invests $25 mn in 5 firms

Bessemer invests $25 mn in 5 firms

Mumbai: One of Silicon Valley’s oldest venture capital (VC) firms, Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), has invested approximately $25 million (Rs98.5 crore) across five companies from the $350 million corpus allocated to India this June, out of its global $1 billion BVP VII fund. This brings the firm’s total investment in India to $150 million across 17 companies since it started investing here in 2003.

The firm’s managing director Devesh Garg, who moved from the US to lead Bessemer’s India team from October, did not disclose the names of portfolio companies in this round of investing. Besides the five new deals in 2007, Bessemer has invested in 12 companies of which six are publicly known (see chart).

Garg did say the firm has tweaked its outlook on sectors and added new ones, but declined sharing details on the new strategy. Previously, BVP has been looking at companies that tap into India’s rising consumer class, the development of infrastructure and the exporting of skill-based knowledge.

BVP has also been moving up the ladder in terms of deal size. The firm will look to invest $3-30 million in each investee company, but is targeting the higher end of the range.

Most VC firms cap their investment per deal at $10 million. However, in recent months, several VCs have started to move into the $20-30 million deal size bracket.

Mumbai-based Matrix Partners India tripled its corpus earlier this month from $150 to $450 million, and their cap on deals rose from $10 to $30 million. Investors say this segment has fewer investors now that private equity firms do deals larger than $30 million (many have a minimum of $50 million).

Though an investor here since 2003, BVP intensified its focus on this market this year. Apart from the $350 million allocation from its latest global fund, it has also strengthened its on-ground presence here to a 10-person investment team.

India is the only market to receive a country allocation, though the global fund also invests in other markets such as China, Europe and Africa, apart from the US.