A little over a year after it signed up with markets regulator SEBI as an AIF (alternative investment fund), LetsVenture, the Bengaluru-based angel investment platform, has seen growth accelerate, both in terms of onboarding investors and making capital available to very early stage startups.
The platform, founded in 2013 by Shanti Mohan and Sanjay Jha, will close out the current year with over 6,500 angel investors on board, up 23% from last year, over 120 micro-funds, 200 institutional investors and over 150 family offices. It launched 12 syndicates this year, taking the total to 22.
“The ease of organising investments has been significantly impacted by SEBI’s Angel AIF. LetsVenture… saw more than one investor joining per day taking the accredited investor sign-ups to 470 with a committed AUM (assets under management) of $19 million so far,” LetsVenture said in a statement.
The Angel AIF, it added, allows founders to have a single cap table entry and founders and investors are increasingly using this vehicle to structure their investments in startups.
During 2019, angel rounds executed through the platform saw ticket sizes average at close to $750,000 against $200,000 in prior years. LetsVenture attributed the uptick in ticket sizes to more seasoned professionals starting up as second-time entrepreneurs and being able to invest more of their own capital in the initial stages before raising external capital.
The platform saw the maximum deals done in the sectors of healthcare, food and beverages, artificial intelligence, education, retail, followed by fintech, enterprise software and hardware based startups.
LetsVenture’s portfolio of 195-odd startups has raised follow-on funding worth over $150 million since its inception. In 2019, 34 startups, logistics-tech startup FleetX, electric mobility startup Yulu, fintech startup Khatabook, medi-tech startup Medtrail, and online marketplace for food Sattviko, raised follow-on rounds.
The portfolio, it said, was valued at $1.07 billion, as of November this year.
The platform has realised a total of 14 exits so far from its overall portfolio. In 2019, it scored exits from Innov8, Mockbank and Pixtory. Co-working startup Innov8 was acquired by SoftBank-backed hospitality chain OYO in July for an undisclosed sum. Online competitive tests preparation platform Mockbank was acquired by Reliance Industries owned, artificial intelligence-enabled education platform Embibe. Community-based platform for visual artists Pixtory was snapped up by digital media platform YourStory.
"The last decade was about developing the nascent ecosystem in India, with a focus on building strong fundamentals and growing organically. We believe with strong leadership team coming on board, the next year will be about truly leveraging all our learning from the last few years to scale the platform, and becoming globally relevant,” CEO Mohan said.
LetsVenture is backed by marquee investors and HNIs (high networth individuals) such as Accel, Chiratae Ventures, Infosys founder Nandan Nilekani, angel investors Sharad Sharma and Anupam Mittal, and Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata.