The years 2014 and 2015 were boom years for VC investing in India. Fuelled by venture capital firm Tiger Global’s big bets, there was a sea change in perceptions and expectations around funding norms and numbers.

But it was a false dawn.

2016 saw the tempering of this bullishness.

2017 was largely a wait-and-watch year.

2018 was different.

How so?

Let us count the ways.

  1. The nearest exit

While there has been a large amount of funding entering India over the past five years, there has not been a commensurate rate of exits to justify these investments. Until 2018. According to data provided by company financials database Venture Intelligence, 2018 saw a six-fold increase in exits relative to the previous year. For the first time ever, the total money returned to LPs through exits exceeded the capital invested into Indian startups in a calendar year.

If this makes for heady news, the chart below provides for a sobering read.

In a deal valued at $16 billion, multinational retailer Walmart’s acquisition of Indian e-commerce company Flipkart delivered cash returns of over $12 billion to investors, founders and Flipkart employees. While startups exits have always known to operate under a power law where the size of the winning outliers are disproportionately larger than the rest of the herd, Flipkart’s mega-exit skews the overall exit numbers for the year and hides the fact that if you take this deal out of consideration, things are pretty much business as usual when it comes to exits in India. There were no IPOs worth speaking about and the vast majority of mergers and acquisitions in the top 10 list involved companies that are not technology startups.

That said, thanks to the likes of multinational SoftBank, there were a number of secondary exits in companies such as hospitality company OYO and edu-tech company Byju’s which helped many Indian VCs report stellar performances to their LPs.

But beyond the leaderboard, there were some seemingly small but meaningful exits in 2018 that proved that given the right economics, small can be beautiful. Software company Mettl and cloud solutions company Minjar were good representative examples of this dynamic at work.

  1. The year that was for Indian VCs

The chart above shows how the major Indian VCs invested in 2018.

While the jury might still be out on whether VC investing in India has come of age with demonstrating meaningful IPO-type exits, there is no doubt that 2018 was a bumper year for Indian VCs in India.

AUTHOR

Prajakta Patil

Prajakta, who leads the three-member design team at The Ken loves making infographics. She is always on a hunt for data-driven business stories and meaningfully designed visualizations. Prior to The Ken, she has spent 6 years at Mint visualizing infographics for the daily.

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at support@the-ken.com with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at info@the-ken.com or follow us on Twitter.