Mumbai: Norwest Venture Partners, one of the largest venture capital firms globally which has invested $700 million (about Rs.4,730 crore) in the country so far, will step up startup investments here in 2016.
“In the past 15 to 18 months we have not been investing actively. We had put in less than $60 million (about Rs.400 crore) here last year. We will at least double if not triple this number in 2016,” Norwest Venture Partners managing director Niren Shah said.
“We had not met internal numbers on new deployment, but we’re getting there,” he added. He pointed out that valuations were a concern. “They were at least six times of what’s ‘fair’. It’s now more reasonable. Companies have started focussing on unit economics rather than growing fast,” he said. The Silicon Valley-based firm, which has backed Uber and Spotify, has just closed a $1.2 billion global fund and will invest in startups across the US, China, India and Israel.
Speaking about Norwest India’s investment strategy, Shah said they are bullish on food tech contrary to other funds, as well as vertically integrated e-commerce and financial technology firms. He also said that one of the biggest challenges in India is competition, and that several companies in the country are “trying to replicate the success of an Alibaba in China”.
Norwest’s India portfolio currently includes internet companies like travel portal Yatra, Quikr, Pepperfry and food delivery startup Swiggy.