Home / Companies / News /  Sequoia India & Southeast Asia's new platform to help SaaS founders expand globally

Venture capital firm Sequoia India & Southeast Asia today announced the launch of Pathfinders, a platform that connects early-stage founders from India and Southeast Asia with exceptional operators who can help startups succeed in new markets with a strong focus on the US.

Currently, in beta stage, Pathfinders allows founders and pathfinders to connect and learn more about each other.

The platform brings in “exceptional operators and investors to be matched with SaaS founders to shape their go-to-market strategy, get their initial set of global customers, make key hires, think through product design choices" and among other things learn from global leaders, Sequoia said in a statement.

Bain predicts that Indian SaaS companies will achieve $30 billion in revenue and capture an 8-9% share of the global SaaS market by 2025. The market cap of all Indian SaaS companies combined is over $40 billion and the total capital invested in SaaS in the last 5 years is over $9 billion. India currently has 17 SaaS unicorns.

“Over the past year we have onboarded 25 Pathfinders to the platform to include exceptional executives from unicorns to large tech companies across domains such as sales, marketing, product management and engineering. Six of our companies have already received investments and mentorship from our Pathfinders and feedback has been unanimously glowing. We intend to scale the platform significantly over the next year by onboarding more Pathfinders and portfolio companies," said Harshjit Sethi, managing director, Sequoia India.

The pathfinders are founders/CXOs from some of Silicon Valley’s technology companies, including Amit Singh (President, Palo Alto Networks), Oliver Jay (ex CRO, Asana), Param Kalhon (CPO, UIPath) Prasanna Sankar (Cofounder, Rippling), Pratyus Pattnaik (Snr Director of Engineering, Okta), Sandeep Johri (former CEO, Tricentis) and others.

For the Pathfinders, the program represents an opportunity to invest in some of the most promising tech companies from the region alongside Sequoia Capital India & Southeast Asia, at the same terms and with no commercials to Sequoia," the statement further said.

It added that Pathfinders is also entirely pro bono, which means there is no commercial benefit to Sequoia.

In a blog post, Sequoia Capital said that the genesis of Pathfinders was during an internal Zoom brainstorm session in late 2020 that focused on a constant question of “What more can we do to help our founders succeed?"

Founders will provide their feedback on working with an individual pathfinder, which is then shared with the next set of founders.

“Pathfinders leverages the power of the international network that Sequoia has built over 50 years to give companies they partner with a head start in their global ambitions," it said adding that support at very early stages of a compay building is invaluable for startups where an early hire or a lighthouse customer can change the trajectory of the company.

“The pathfinders I’ve partnered with have had a meaningful impact on the company so far, adding value on areas such as product marketing, customer connections, analyst relations, hiring and other core pillars of our US GTM." said Nishant Modak, co-founder of Last9.

“The entire enterprise software market is being disrupted by next generation SaaS built using cloud, AI and mobile-first design principles. To succeed, Indian disruptors need to understand the western buyers, their needs and their user’s expectations clearly, and design products that fit them effectively. Pathfinders connects entrepreneurs with experienced operators living in these countries, who have built expertise over decades understanding western buyers," said Amit Singh, President, Palo Alto Networks.

It's a great opportunity for me to reconnect with India and give back to the next generation, he added.

Part of the global venture capital firm, Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia help founders build companies from idea to IPO to beyond.

Some of its portfolio companies include Byju’s, Cred, Druva, Five Star Finance, Freshworks, GoTo, Groww, Kopi Kenangan, Mamaearth, Pine Labs, Polygon, Razorpay, Truecaller, Zomato and others.

The global companies backed by Sequoia include the likes of Airbnb, Alibaba, Apple, Dropbox, Google, LinkedIn and Stripe, among others.


Beena Parmar

Been Parmar is a financial journalist based in Mumbai. She has reported on the banking and finance sector for over 10 years. She now writes on the alternative investment ecosystem from India - private equity, venture capital and especially startups. She loves to read about politics, society and humane stories.
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