Binny Bansal: India’s prolific startup investor
Over the last few years, billionaire entrepreneur Binny Bansal has gained the reputation of being a start-up investor who has amassed an extensive portfolio spanning edtech, fashion, insurance, robotics and electric vehicles. “As an investor, I basically look at people solving meaningful problems which will hopefully create a positive impact at large,” Bansal tells Fortune India while commenting on his funding criteria.
In his investor avatar, Bansal has backed about 47 companies so far spread across 64 funding rounds, according to data from analytics firm Tracxn. This includes 28 deals in the seed stage, 14 in early and 4 in late-stage, among others.
Bansal—who co-founded India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart along with his friend Sachin Bansal in 2007—points out that his personal “chemistry” with startup founders is an important factor when he plans to fund a venture. “Potential of the idea is vital along with its execution,” he says, adding that it is important to understand “how far the idea has been executed. Scalability of the idea and whether the founding team can execute the idea at scale. All of these factors are crucial for the investment decision.”
According to Tracxn, this year Bansal participated in funding rounds such as edtech major Unacademy raising $440 million, Protonn—a digital platform for freelancers to launch and track their businesses online— raising $9 million in a seed round, Singapore-based Glints—a career development and recruitment platform raising $22.5 million in a Series C round, edtech start-up Skill-Lync raising $17.5 million in a Series A round, and others. Among his portfolio companies include fashion label House of Masaba, digital insurance startup Acko, private aerospace firm Team Indus, and mobility platform Yulu. Interestingly, Bansal is also an investor in Tracxn Technologies—which filed draft papers last month with the securities regulator to raise funds through an initial public offering (IPO).
In 2018, U.S. retail giant Walmart acquired a 77% stake in e-commerce firm Flipkart for $16 billion, making it the largest cross-border M&A deal involving an Indian business and the largest foreign direct investment in the country. The transaction valued the Bengaluru-based e-commerce firm at a whopping $20 billion.
Bansal—who holds a small stake in Flipkart—reportedly sold shares worth an estimated $76 million to Walmart’s arm in 2019. Currently based in Singapore, Bansal co-founded xto10x Technologies in 2018, along with Saikiran Krishnamurthy and Neeraj Aggarwal, to help mostly growth-stage start-ups scale their operations by providing technology tools, learning and counselling services. It has worked with companies such as Meesho, Licious, Cred, ClearTax, Dunzo, upGrad, SuprDaily, and others.
Among his other engagements, Bansal is also an anchor investor in early-stage venture capital fund 021 Capital that focuses on sectors such as agritech, internet and biotechnology.