What is common between Unacademy, Byju’s, Dream11, My11Circle, CRED, Groww, Upstox and Sharechat? Fans of the ongoing Indian Premier League cricket tournament will undoubtedly recognise that all these companies are prominent sponsors and advertisers for this edition of India’s highest-profile sporting event.

But beyond that, these startups have one more thing in common—they are all backed by Tiger Global, the New York-based hedge fund.

Over the last few months, Tiger Global has been on a tear tear TechCrunch Tiger Global goes super aggressive in India Read more , making investments at a scale and velocity that has few parallels in history. Most, if not all, of its investee companies are raising rounds that put them in the hallowed unicorn startup club, with valuations exceeding US$1 billion. Of the eleven new unicorns announced in India in the last two months, Tiger has invested in seven of them.

Overall, in the first three months of 2021, Tiger Global has made a dozen publicly disclosed investments in India and is said to be in advanced talks with a dozen more.

The action is not restricted to India alone. According to research firm PitchBook, Tiger has backed more than 60 companies worldwide in the first three months of the year—an average of nearly one deal for every working day.

While hedge funds like Tiger Global have participated in venture investments for more than twenty years now since the advent of the dot com era, their presence and influence in VC investing was never as prominent as it is currently. According to PitchBook, hedge funds have participated in 168 deals in the first three months into 2021. That’s nearly 80% of the 214 investments they made in the whole of last year.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there have been outcries outcries Financial Times Stampede for Silicon Valley start-ups sees VCs invest at fast pace Read more of a new funding bubble being fomented, with Tiger Global posited as the primary perpetrator. There have been murmurs that Tiger Global’s bullishness and decision-making speed is evoking fear and panic in the startup ecosystem. Founders are reportedly lining up for a benediction and other investors scrambling to keep pace and compete. Terming the firm as a “deal machine”, The Information reported reported The Information Inside Tiger Global’s Deal Machine Read more that this “unprecedented deal pace threatens the VC establishment”. Others are calling it a startup gold rush startup gold rush The Times of India In 2021 startup gold rush, Unicorn sightings peak Read more .


Sumanth Raghavendra

Sumanth is a serial entrepreneur with more than eighteen years experience in running startups. He is currently the founder of Deck App Technologies, a Bangalore-based startup attempting to re-imagine productivity software for the Post-PC era. Sumanth’s columns appear regularly in leading publications. He holds MBA degrees from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, USA.

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