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Venture Catalysts Group closes 207 deals in 2021, invests 178 unique start-ups

Left to right - Anil Jain, Gaurav Jain, Dr Apoorv Ranjan Sharma and Anuj Golecha

Venture Catalysts Group, India’s leading early-stage investment firm has doubled its growth by closing 207 consolidated deals in 2021. It invested in 178 unique startups during the year.

The Mumbai-based investment firm runs and operates –India’s first and most active early-stage investment platform Venture Catalysts, and 9Unicorns, a $100 million accelerator fund.

The sector-agnostic group co-invests with marquee VCs like Sequoia Surge, DSG Consumer Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Lightspeed Ventures, Matrix Partners, and other early-stage and angel investors like Astarc Ventures, Earlsfield Capital, Anicut Capital, Titan Capital, Anupam Mittal, Ramakanth Sharma, Pankaj Chaddah, Sanjiv Bajaj, SOSV, Kunal Shah, Nikhil Kamath, Pravin Jadhav, Lalit Keshre and many other prominent figures. Some of its key active family offices include the Nanavati family, Manish Modi, Puzzolana Group, and Salarpuria group.

Venture Catalysts Group is known to have democratised start-up investing in the country with a focus on strengthening the ecosystem in the smaller Indian towns and cities. About 15% of the startups come from these towns. A few names include Silvassa-based peanut butter brand MyFitness, Panaji-based Numadic, Lucknow-based and Keeros and Bhopal-based Agrigator amongst others.

Commenting on the milestone, Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Co-Founder and President, Venture Catalysts Group said, “The pandemic has created many gaps in service deliveries which are being addressed by startups. We envisage a huge blue-ocean opportunity in backing such businesses in its early stages of growth. Considering the stage of investing, the valuations help us realise lucrative exits, thereby contributing to our business growth by many folds.”

Founded by Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Anil Jain, Anuj Golecha and Gaurav Jain in 2016, the group has made it to the list of top 10 global most active accelerators and incubators, second time consecutively. It is has surpassed popular accelerators such as Techstars, Bpifrance,500Global, and SOSV and now only behind YCombinator.

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Some of the prominent investments for the year includes BluSmart, Dukaan, Klub, Melorra, Kala Gato, Mitron TV, Rage Coffee, Power Gummies, Coutloot, Prescinto, Resolve AI, Toch, Zingbus, RoundLabs, and Stage, amongst others. Among the sectors, DeepTech, B2B Saas, FinTech, InsureTech, F&B, HealthTech, and Media dominated the investments this year.

Some other unique investments include

Fintech – Basic, Numadic, Vital, Reevoy, Castler

SaaS – ANS Commerce,

FemTech – Healofy, Fembuddy

Robotics/Deeptech – Ethereal, Cynlr Robotics, Botsync

Vernacular focused – Kahanibox, Sutradhar

Voice Tech – TinyChef, Callify

Defence Tech – Optimize Electrotech

Speaking on the sectoral vision, Dr. Sharma, added, “We will continue investing in sectors such as FinTech, EduTech, AgriTech, FMCG, e-commerce, logistics and supply chain management. DeepTech is another sector that we are bullish on since businesses will continue to be online in the post-pandemic would as well.”

With a strong and robust network of over 5,000 angel investors across Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, Venture Catalysts has aggressively expanded its domestic and global footprint to over 70 Indian cities and nine countries, respectively. Venture Catalysts invested in 15 start-ups from Tier 2 cities, constituting 15 percent of the overall investment portfolio. 33 Founders and 28 women from Tier 2 cities received backing, as well.

Venture Catalysts witnessed 62 cumulative exits and liquidity events in 2021, unimpacted by the ongoing socio-economic crisis of the pandemic. The most successful exit for the year remains BharatPe with 80X returns as well as other significant exits such as Dukaan, ImpactGuru and Rooter. This also indicates the growth potential for late stage investment activity valuations.

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