No venture capitalists (VCs) — not even seed-stage funds — want to miss out on the massive opportunities that the Indian consumer Internet space offers. In many of the recent VC investment deals occurred in India, there was at least one ‘foreign hand’.
While many of these funds are operating from their respective locations outside India, Tokyo-based seed-stage VC fund Rebright Partners has decided to set up operations in the country and rope in a manager to look out for disruptive consumer Internet stories.
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“Rebright Partners, as a VC fund, has been active in Southeast Asia for the past four years. It has invested in almost 16 companies across Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore,” said Brij Bhasin, Principal (India Investment Lead), Rebright Partners.
“We have seen that the market has evolved in Southeast Asia, and India is also in a similar trajectory. We started investing in Indonesia, and we see a lot of similarities between the two markets. It prompted Rebright to come to India and back consumer Internet stories over here,” said Bhasin, who till recently was an Operating Partner at GSF Accelerator.
The VC firm will invest in any companies related to consumer Internet such as mobile, marketplace, commerce-related firms, digital media and gaming.
Bhasin said that Rebright is on its way to raise a new fund, which will primarily look to invest in India.
Rebright typically invests in the range of US$100,000 and US$1 million each in pre-revenue-stage companies at seed to Series A level. The VC firm is looking to invest in more than 20 companies from the new fund.
“Indeed, we have already backed two companies here, namely TookiTaki (a data analytics startup) and News In Shorts (a mobile-based news capsule provider). We now plan to invest in six-seven companies by the end of this calendar year,” he shared.
Bhasin told e27 that the fund is now close to investing in two more companies, which will be announced in a couple of weeks.
Opportunities in India
The smartphone growth is exploding in India, especially with the influx of Chinese handset makers like Xiaomi, and Rebright wants to see differentiated models that solve real problems in the developing market.
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“In addition to ventures solving problems in the domestic market, we will also be looking at companies in India that cater to other similar markets in Southeast Asia,” he noted.
Indeed, Rebright is not the first Japanese investor investing India. Earlier, Tokyo-based Internet giant Beenos invested in online payments company Citrus. Recently, Beenos’ Founder Teruhide Sato invested in business chat app Lookup and digital medical journal Daily Rounds.