Rajan Anandan, managing director at Sequoia India and head of Surge. (Photo: HT)
Rajan Anandan, managing director at Sequoia India and head of Surge. (Photo: HT)

Sequoia unveils second batch of Surge startups

  • The new batch has 20 startups from across sectors, and has raised about $45 million collectively
  • Surge is a 16-week programme, wherein startups receive company-building and cross-border support, along with $1-2 million in capital from Sequoia, besides co-investments from other investors

MUMBAI : Sequoia Capital India, the local arm of the storied Silicon Valley investor, on Tuesday unveiled its second cohort of startups from Surge—the accelerator programme it started earlier this year, to find, help and fund early-stage startups in India and South-East Asia.

Surge is a 16-week programme, wherein startups receive company-building and cross-border support, along with $1-2 million in capital from Sequoia, besides co-investments from other investors.

The new batch has 20 startups from across sectors such as consumer internet, clean energy, robotics and social commerce, and have raised about $45 million collectively. Around 80% of the companies have co-investors.

Commerce investments include e-SIM store Airalo, Bijak, a B2B trade platform for the agriculture sector, commercial construction e-commerce firm Brick&Bolt, and Chilibeli, a social commerce platform for farmers, suppliers and consumers.

Its software investments include Cognicept, which helps humans and robots to work together, Classplus, a mobile operating system which lets coaching institutes take their brick and mortar setups online, HevoData, a data platform that helps companies understand their users and customers better, and Quolum, a software-as-a-service product to better manage risk and compliance for enterprises.

Other consumer-focused bets include Yours, a direct-to-consumer personalized skincare brand, Trell and Storie, both lifestyle community platforms, co-living firm Rukita, Rheo TV, a game streaming platform, and PerroMart, an online-to-offline pet care company.

Surge is headed by Rajan Anandan, the former head of Google India. Rajan was not available for comment.

Sequoia has separately raised a $150-200-million fund dedicated to Surge and for early-stage investments, and is becoming the country’s most active startup investor across stages. “Sequoia is now having a dedicated seed-stage fund because earlier it made good investments, but could not be the first investor in their biggest companies today. If you come in early, multiples of exit could be much higher if the startup succeeds," said an investor who has worked closely with Sequoia, requesting anonymity.

Sequoia has also topped up the $695-million Sequoia India VI fund by $200 million, as it sought to invest more in early and growth stages, Mint first reported on 31 July.

Surge’s first batch of 17 startups was launched in January. A few firms have already either closed or are closing follow-on rounds. Khatabook, which looks to digitize and automate accounting and track business transactions, raised $25 million earlier this month from GGV Capital, partners of DST Global, RTP Ventures, Sequoia India, Tencent and Y Combinator.

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