Bertelsmann Investments (BI) is one of the largest VC ecosystems in the world, with investments exceeding $1.06 billion in over 250 companies and funds. In 2012, BI launched its India arm Bertelsmann India Investments (BII). Along the way, we’ve met some incredible founders with remarkable ideas and an undying passion for work. Some of these start-ups have grown exponentially, are category leaders, and some have become the fabled ‘unicorns’ – the likes of Eruditus, Pepperfry, Shiprocket, Rupeek, Licious, and Lendingkart, to name a few. In the past decade, we at BII have invested about $300 million in 17+ startups across new-age, disruptive sectors such as fintech, healthtech, agritech and others.
Bertelsmann is systematically implementing its Group-wide Boost 25 strategy. Under the strategy, the company plans to invest between €5 billion and €7 billion by 2025. BII is ready to deepen its engagement within India and expand further with a structured agenda. We are pleased to announce that we aim to invest €470 million (around $500 million) in the next five years. With this commitment, we aim to be among the top VCs in the country and continue to be the leading voices in the space.
India stands third in the startup ecosystem in the world, only behind the US and China. It is young and brimming with optimism. We are pleased to kick off our ‘Early-Stage Program’ – infusing Series A investment in little gems before they grow up to set our world ablaze with their brilliance. As part of the program, we intend to make selective Series A investments in association with existing top VCs and entrepreneurs. Going back to our belief in working hard today to build a better tomorrow, BII continues to identify tech-enabled, mission-driven, sustainable businesses while they are still young and nurture them. Together, we shall see them lift our world to greater heights.
Showing his faith in us and the Indian economy, Carsten Coesfeld, CEO, BI, commented, “Bertelsmann India Investments will benefit from Bertelsmann’s Boost program, which is being carried out based on our high investment capacity. It will help Bertelsmann continue to increase its growth momentum significantly. As part of our global venture capital activities, Bertelsmann India Investments will play an important role in this in the years ahead. The Indian economy is seeing very strong growth right now, from which the venture capital industry in particular is benefiting as well”
Shobhna Mohn, CSO of Bertelsmann Investments, has also been very gracious in acknowledging our efforts. “Our BII Team has done an incredibly good job since its inception. Our current portfolio in India looks excellent, as evidenced by dynamic operational developments, very good valuations and well-known co-investors in our investments. On the back of VC market potential in India, we now enable Pankaj and his successful team to expand their investment scope both in terms of sectors and volume.”
Pankaj Makkar, Managing Director of BII, commented on the Boost program too, “Pankaj Makkar, Managing Director of BII, added: “We are very pleased to be more than doubling our investment under the new Bertelsmann Boost program. Based on our increased allocation of USD 500 million, we expect to make six to eight new investments a year, for the next five years. We aim to connect with founders early. Today, mid-stage funding in India and the region has transitioned into the early growth stage with multiple disruptive startups building such an ecosystem. With a decade of experience, we have witnessed that founders and companies are exhibiting maturity at an early stage. No doubt, the industry landscape is changing and we are ready to dive in.”
For our core mid-stage investing program, we continue to lead the rounds with a ticket size of $5 to 20 million as an initial investment. The investment may go up to as much as $40 million during the life of the selected startup.
At BII, we will expand from our existing 2-3 deals a year to 6-8 in a year, including the Series A investments. For our core mid-stage investing program, we continue to lead the rounds with a ticket size of $5 to 20 million as an initial investment. The investment may go up to as much as $40 million during the life of the selected startup. While being sector agnostic, in 2022 and 2023, we plan to focus on investments in the Health-Tech, Enterprise-Tech, Future of Work, Fintech, Agritech, and other sectors. We are also keeping an eye on disruptive technologies like Web3 and Deeptech.
To Bertelsmann, we say thank you! Thank you for the faith that you have shown in us. The capital, structural and strategic support laid out for us will go a long way in backing the next phase of India’s startup story. To the passionate, mission-driven, tech-enabled startup founders, do reach out to us. Let’s build a brighter future together. And take note, we only believe in strategic, long-term partnerships. To our readers, we say the best is yet to come. India’s startup story has only just begun.