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Moving beyond fintech giant Paytm’s disastrous public listing last week—after which many believed capital inflow in the country might ebb a little bit—the Indian startup ecosystem continued to ride high on investor sentiments this week.
As such, local startups raised the highest-ever quarterly funding of about USD 11 billion in Q3 of 2021, according to a recent report by PwC India. Overall, investors pumped more than USD 24 billion into the South Asian nation in the first nine months of this year.
The trend is continuing well into the last quarter of the year, with VCs cutting bigger, fatter checks, led mostly by none other than Tiger Global. The VC firm, which is known for being secretive and reticent, was one of the key investors in sports tech firm Dream Sports’ USD 840 million round, used car retailing platform Spinny’s USD 248 million Series E, and proptech startup NoBroker’s USD 210 million investment—all of which were announced over a span of this week.No surprise then, the famed New York-headquartered hedge fund has turned 18 local startups into billion-dollar companies this year—almost half of the 39 companies that entered the elite unicorn club in 2021.
For this week’s big read, we looked at how Tiger Global recently minted two new unicorns.
The Big Read
Tiger Global is well known for kick-starting funding booms in India. Back in 2006–07, when India was seeing the first wave of internet companies, the American VC entered the country and made at least half a dozen early-stage investments. But its enthusiasm lasted only till mid-2009. A few years later—in May 2014—Tiger went into an investment frenzy, betting big on India’s internet story. It pumped in more than USD 1.5 billion in over two dozen startups over the next 18 months. When the VC finally reined in its venture capital, it led to a funding crunch in the Indian startup ecosystem in 2016–17.
Come 2021, Tiger has brought the unicorn boom along with the funding deluge in India, which has already seen over three dozen startups turning into billion-dollar companies this year.
The VC firm has invested about USD 1.4 billion in Indian startups in the first six months of this year, compared to USD 586 million in the entire 2020. And it stepped up its game even more in the second half of 2021.
Earlier this week, Tiger and Abu Dhabi Growth Fund, which was set up in July 2021 by the Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, wrote a USD 248 million check for used car retailing startup Spinny. With the fresh funding round, which values the startup at over USD 1.7 billion, Spinny has emerged as the 39th unicorn this year.
In a separate deal, Tiger Global, along with General Atlantic and Moore Strategic, has led a USD 210 million round in online real estate platform NoBroker at a post-money valuation of USD 1.01 billion, making it the first proptech startup to gain the unicorn tag in the South Asian nation.
The Weekly Buzz
1. Tiger-backed Dream Sports raised one of the largest funding rounds this year in India as the firm steps up its efforts to create a comprehensive sports technology ecosystem and expands beyond its core fantasy gaming business. The USD 840 million check, which values the company at over 8 billion, is also among the largest investments in the sports tech sector globally.
2 . Paytm’s disastrous public listing is weighing down upcoming fintech IPOs. Last week, the fintech major saw its shares plunge 27% from the issue price on the debut day, which eroded over USD 5 billion of investors’ wealth. Now its smaller rival, MobiKwik, which filed draft IPO papers in July and was eyeing USD 255 million IPO in November is reported to have delayed its public issue offering by two to three months due to the negative sentiments around fintech IPOs.