It has elevated three executives in what is seen as a significant move in the domestic investing ecosystem, where funds in the past have lost some of their young executives amid lack of growth opportunities at top-heavy VC firms.
Accel said it promoted Abhinav Chaturvedi, Prayank Swaroop and Barath Shankar Subramanian, from being principals to partners, taking the top deck count to nine. Other partners are Mahendran Balachandran, Anand Daniel, Shekhar Kirani, Subrata Mitra, Prashanth Prakash and Dinesh Katiyar. The Accel India partnership is one of the largest in the venture capital industry.
As partners, these three executives will now independently lead investment deals, be it as part of the fund’s fundraising cycles or interface with limited partners, and get a slice of the profits, known as carry. Limited partners are sponsors of funds.
“With their expanded responsibilities and our existing six partners, we believe we are set up for supporting our investment needs in the coming years,” said Kirani.
Accel India’s $450 million current fund saw 70% of its investments being made at around $2 million or less. The fund, which manages $1 billion in assets here, invests across five broad areas: consumer, B2B or marketplace, fintech, healthcare (deep tech and digital), and enterprise SaaS companies.
Over the last few years, Accel has built an operating team of specialists helping its companies in product, talent, culture, execution, content and scale thinking, post-investment. The fund has also started a Learn@Accel series of events for its portfolio founders, which it now plans to open up to the whole ecosystem.
“The next 10 years, our thesis of going early will still hold true which takes this kind of bandwidth and because these are early-stage companies we do need to spend time,” said Prakash.
The next phase of growth
“What took several years for Myntra, or Flipkart, our younger companies are doing that in half the time. Swiggy doing million transactions a day would have been unbelievable for people within Accel till a few years back,” Kirani said.
While exits have been scanty for most venture funds, Accel posted its biggest win when Flipkart, where it cut an $800,000 cheque as the first institutional investor in 2008, was acquired by US retail giant Walmart for $16 billion last year. Accel is expected to have pocketed around $800 million on its total investment of $160 million, even as it still holds some shares in the e-commerce firm.
Prakash, said, “The completeness of the ecosystem, both in terms of exits and the entire Series B and C gap while it’s not totally solved, there’s significantly more capital. Even post Tiger Global, a lot of funds continue to support the Indian ecosystem. I think with capital availability, better quality of entrepreneurship, some exits and more visibility of exits, we are right now at the cusp of the second big leap. This will be much bigger than the last one, because the base of that was very small.”
While the fund is bullish on India, Accel is also looking at Southeast Asia as a market for investment given there could be a few areas that could play out similar to the domestic market. According to Prakash, the demographics of Indonesia, for instance mobile penetration and per capita spends, are almost comparable to India.
“Rising capital availability, increasing quality of entrepreneurs, visibility of exits, and actual exits signal the completeness of the ecosystem … We are right now at the cusp of the second big leap, and this big leap is much much bigger than the last one,” said Prakash.