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Lightspeed closes $500 mn early stage fund for India, Southeast Asia

Most listed tech stocks have taken a beating since the beginning of the year and private market valuations for startups have seen corrections. iStockphotoPremium
Most listed tech stocks have taken a beating since the beginning of the year and private market valuations for startups have seen corrections. iStockphoto

  • The firm announced it had raised $7.1 billion across early and growth stage vehicles globally. Out of this, $2.5 billion capital will deployed in early stage deals, which includes the $500 million fund which it has raised for India

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Lightspeed Venture Partners, which is invested in unicorns such as Byju’s, Udaan, Sharechat, Innovacer and Razorpay, has raised $500 million (around 4,000 crore) for its fourth early-stage fund in India.   

On Tuesday, the firm announced it had raised $7.1 billion across early and growth stage vehicles globally. Out of this, $2.5 billion capital will deployed in early stage deals, which includes the $500 million fund which it has raised for India.  

Separately, Lightspeed also announced that it had elevated its partner Bejul Somaiya, who helped set up Lightspeed’s India operations in 2008, to its leadership team globally.  

The firm expects to invest in areas such as cross border commerce, mobility, artificial intelligence- based automation and devops, climate and web3 in addition to sectors such as consumer tech, Business-to-Business commerce and enterprise, Shuvi Srivastava, Partner, Lightspeed said. 

“We predominantly lead seed and Series A rounds from the venture fund and so our ticket sizes have ranged from a few hundred thousand to high single digit million dollars. We also selectively lead Series B investments from the early fund, and draw capital from our global growth funds for later stage growth rounds." Shuvi Shrivastava, Partner, Lightspeed said.  

“For early-stage investments in India and South East Asia, we will draw capital from the dedicated $500m regional early-stage fund. For larger growth stage investment opportunities, we will be investing out of the $5bn global growth capital pool," Aditya Sharma, Partner, Growth Equity, Lightspeed said.  

Lightspeed’s latest fundraise comes even as the tech sector is facing a downward trend globally. Most listed tech stocks have taken a beating since the beginning of the year and private market valuations for startups have seen corrections.  

Sharma acknowledged that the macro financing environment has changed.  

“We continue to be patient and selective, for the right investment opportunities at sensible values, and with the right risk reward balance," he added.  

Lightspeed has been investing for more than 15 years in India with its first bet on online education company TutorVista Global Pvt. Ltd. It launched its first India-specific investment vehicle of $135 million in 2015 through its subsidiary Lightspeed India Partners. 

In April this year, the firm elevated three of its senior executives including Shrivastava, Rahul Taneja and Pinn Lawjindakul as partners to boost its early-stage investment advisory team.   

The Silicon Valley-US-headquartered Lightspeed has invested over $1 billion in India since 2007. It is currently investing out of its third fund of $275 million that was raised in 2020.  

Its other portfolio companies include Indian Energy Exchange, Oyo, Grab, Acko, and Innovaccer.  

On Tuesday, the firm also said it was building a platform to back founders in blockchain infrastructure under Lightspeed Faction. 

Over the past five years, the firm has expanded to 28 professionals across four locations in Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Singapore, it said. Globally, it is present in 12 offices across six countries. 

Multiple venture capital firms have launched funds this year. Sequoia Capital raised $2.85 billion across a set of funds to invest in Southeast Asia and India.  

In March, Accel India, an investor in the likes of Flipkart and Freshworks, raised $650 million for its seventh fund. The following month, Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners) raised $670 million for its fifth India-focused vehicle.  

Last month, Matrix Partners India, which has backed unicorns like Ola and Dailyhunt, kicked off the process to raise a larger fourth fund of $450 million.

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