WaterBridge marks final close of second VC fund at $150 mn; eyes 25 investments

New Delhi: WaterBridge Ventures, which has invested in Unacademy, Atlan, Magicpin, Bijnis and CityMall, has recorded the final closing of its second fund at $150 million ( NS1,112 crore), said Manish Ketterpal, managing partner at the early stage venture capital firm.

The second fund seeks to invest between $500,000 and $3 million each in 25 startup companies through seed rounds and the first stage. It will also reserve the capital for subsequent investments in the best performing companies. Khetribal said the fund had already made 10 bets. He added that WaterBridge has more than $250 million in assets under management.

The second fund group is above the initial target of $100 million and is larger than its first fund, which closed at $30 million in early 2018.

Significant investor interest in the Indian startup ecosystem has led to the creation of 37 unicorns this year compared to just 11 in 2020. Venture capital firms such as A91 Partners and Stellaris Venture Partners have increased their fund targets recently.

A91 Partners, pitched by former Sequoia Capital executives, has announced the final closing of its second fund at $550 million.

The second WaterBridge Fund is divided equally between global and local Limited Partners (LPs). Kheterpal said LPs in the fund include institutional investors and family offices from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Middle East, the United States and India. The second fund contains LP partners such as the Sidbi Fund of Funds, the Asian Fund of Funds, and a Sovereign Family Office from the Middle East.

LPs in the fund also include CXOs of technology companies such as BigBasket, EXL, IndiaMART, RateGain and Teleperformance, along with major partners KKR, GIC, TCV, Providence and Vitruvian Partners.

Kheterpal said 75% of the first fund LPs invested in the second fund as well.

WaterBridge was founded by Kheterpal and his former colleague from private equity firm Actis, Ashish Jain, in 2016.

Anjali Susil, one of the few women in a leadership role in the venture capital industry, joined WaterBridge as a partner in 2020, when the second fund was launched.

Jain said WaterBridge has developed a thesis-oriented, top-down approach that has allowed it to make early bets on future class leaders.

Jain added that the venture capital firm has invested in global topics with investments in SaaS Business Atlan and Canadian digital pharmacy PocketPills, which has an Indian product development team.

WaterBridge is also focusing on Bharat, or a small town in India, with investments in Chalo, a bus transportation company operating in Tier 2 and 3 cities, and a startup Medcords focused on rural healthcare, Jain said.

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