South Korea’s Mirae Asset Global Investments is keen to invest in Indian companies that have strong founders and have built a robust business model and in requirement of growth capital. It has so far invested in two home-grown startups—Shadowfax and Zolo Stays. In an interview, Ashish Dave, who heads its India investments, talked about the firm’s strategy and focus areas for investing. Edited excerpts:
You have over $1 billion from your flagship fund and other vehicles to invest across Asia. Do you have an allocation for India in 2019?
There is no hard allocation, as it will be opportunity-based deployment. If we see good opportunities, we can scale up our deployment plans. Tough to comment on the number of deals per year, but we are very upbeat on the Indian venture space, and remain committed as we are a long-term player. In the last one year, we have invested in Grab, Didi Chuxing, Bukalapak, Shadowfax and Zolo Stays.
In the last one year, why has Mirae chosen to invest in the Series B-D mid-stage space? Do you see less competition in this space?
In the past few years, the seed- and early-stage ecosystem has developed well and there is steady capital available for entrepreneurs, but there are limited options (for entrepreneurs) for growth-stage capital in the venture space. But, this is a very crucial stage, wherein companies need large capital to expand across India, hire professionals and build a strong middle management team (which requires a lot of capital). Only seed- and early-stage capital is not enough for companies to scale across a large and diverse country like India. It’s not about less competition, but growth capital is a critical element in any venture ecosystem. In the past few years, we have seen enough number of funds in this space, and it’s a welcome step for the overall ecosystem. We do not see them as competition, but see them as collaborators.
What sectors interest you? What about non-tech consumer brands?
Overall, we want to back strong founders and teams, which have shown strong growth and built promising businesses. Given the depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at late stage ventures, we would prefer to be little broad-based. Fin-tech, consumer-tech, health and education are interesting segments.