Where We Are Investing Now: India
Our funds are always on the lookout for the best entrepreneurs leading companies leveraging science to offer innovative worldwide solutions within Health and Happiness. In our constant quest to that end, about a year ago our attention was drawn toward the Indian startup ecosystem — India has witnessed the launch of more than 55,000 startups to date with more than 3,200 startups raising $63 billion in funding in the last five and half years alone (Inc 42).
Home to 34 current unicorns and 52 companies with a potential to become unicorns by 2022, as the world’s second-largest startup ecosystem, India is poised for disruption. Even in the face of global economic uncertainty, 2019 was the second-most active year globally for venture capital investments in dollar value worldwide. It was a milestone year for the Indian VC industry, too, with $10 billion in capital deployed, the highest ever and about 55% higher than 2018. Additionally, India witnessed a 30% increase in deal volume over 2018 as well as larger average deal sizes across all stages (Bain and Company).
Before the pandemic hit, members of our team were on the ground in India and met many remarkable stakeholders in the ecosystem, including accelerators, co-investors, and entrepreneurs. The drive, humility, ambition, and belief exemplified by everyone we encountered was astounding. So astounding that in the short four days we were there (cut short by the lockdown) we made the connections that lead to two investments.
The first company we invested in is Oga Fit. Founded in 2017 by 26-year-old CEO Ashish Rawat, Oga Fit is a one-of-its-kind responsive platform that offers fully interactive live and on-demand workouts. Oga’s proprietary motion comparison technology tracks and compares 17 joints of the human body to generate real-time feedback on user movements (yoga asanas, dance steps, fitness exercises, etc). You can even sync up to work out with your friends in real-time! The brand will use the funding for content creation, product development, and marketing. Have a read about their recent raise or listen to the Managing Partner Mike Edelhart’s interview with Ashish.
The second company is Phable. Phable is a chronic disease management platform providing physicians in India real-time feedback on their patients’ symptoms and behaviors in more than nine conditions, such as Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus, using 21 integrated at-home devices. This is just the beginning for them — In only five months, Sumit Sinha CEO has raised his series A at 4.5X the value, demonstrating the huge potential for growth in an underserved market. Learn more about Phable’s rapid rise to success in Mike’s interview with Sumit.
Our funds focus on the science and technology of health and happiness, and continue to look ever deeper into constantly evolving related areas ranging from NeuroScience, Mental Health, Fitness, Microbiome, Genetics, Digital Health, and Market Based Education, to Next-Generation Food and Drink and Consumer Products with an Emotional Pull. We see these areas excelling in the Indian market, with its ever-growing consumer base and increasingly sophisticated technological and investment infrastructure. The Indian market alone is big enough to produce unicorns that address the subcontinent’s huge unmet needs.
We are excited to continue to support and invest in Indian startups in the coming year (and hopefully be back there on the ground once we all come out of this pandemic).
By Investment Partner Neha Tanna