Venture capital firm Accel, an early backer of storied Internet companies such as Flipkart, Myntra, and Swiggy, announced the close of its sixth fund for the Indian market. On Monday, Accel said it raised new capital of $550 million, which would be invested in seed and early-stage technology startups in the country. Till date, Accel in India has raised $1 billion in capital across five funds, and has invested in over 100 startups.
“There was no concept of a technology fund when we started out (15 years ago). We didn’t even know how to fix the contours of what a fund would look like,” recalls Prashanth Prakash, one of the founding partners of Accel in India. “We started out as an incubator that would help a few startups. With Mukesh Bansal (founder of Myntra) we saw a new wave of entrepreneurship.”
While digital adoption has accelerated in sectors such as food delivery, payments, e-commerce, agritech, education, and logistics, among others, Accel has been at the forefront in spotting and backing sector leaders early on. Accel first invested $800,000 in Flipkart in 2009 and continued backing the company until its acquisition by Walmart, which valued it at over $21 billion in 2018. It invested $1 million in food-delivery startup Swiggy when it was making 100 deliveries a day in Bengaluru; Swiggy now handles more than 1 million daily orders and is valued at $3.4 billion.
“We have stayed close to what’s next. The fact that we very early on co-evolve with our entrepreneurs has helped us identify the next new wave of businesses,” says Prakash. “We are engineered to be a partner from seed to scale; We were the first institutional investor in more than 85% of all our investments,” adds Barath Shankar Subramanian, partner, Accel.
In the last decade, Indian tech startups have created around $100 billion in enterprise value and Accel sees startups creating a disproportionately higher value over the next decade. Reason: India has 600 million Internet users and 150 million online transacting customers with a national payments platform that processes $20 billion a month.