Venture Catalysts Group (Vcats++), an integrated incubator and comprehensive investor for early-stage and growth-stage startups, announced that approximately 54 of its portfolio startups have crossed a $50 million valuation this year. Despite tough times that led to a 70% drop in funding this year, Venture Catalysts has grown significantly, home to over 33 soonicorns and over 100 minicorns. Individual valuations of at least two dozen companies have topped $100 million and about three startups – Shiprocket, BharatPe and Vendantu have achieved unicorn status in the past year.
Vcats++ is an early stage growth fund that includes five funds ranging from early stage to focused sector. The company had first launched its $150m accelerator fund in 2020, after which it launched four more including – Venture Catalysts Angel Fund, a $200m fintech-focused fund called Beams , proptech fund Spyre, and $200 million growth-stage independent fund Elev8. The group has a combined portfolio of more than 300 startups with a consolidated valuation pegged at around $10 billion, making it the largest early-stage investment platform in the country.
“Valuations are gaining momentum at a time when fears around a potential funding winter continue to scare off investors and startups not just in India but across the globe. It speaks volumes about the growth and portfolio company rounds. Most of our portfolios have done extremely well over the past couple of years and we see at least 3-4 unicorn rounds next year,” said Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharmaco-founder of the Venture Catalysts group.
The company, which has three other co-founders – Anil Jain, Anuj Golecha and Gaurav Jain, also aims to close 100 exits and seed rounds by calendar year 2022. Venture Catalysts has invested in 301 deals in 200 startups since its inception, making it the leading startup investment platform in India. Venture Catalysts believes in the strong mentorship program and timely guidance it provides to its portfolio, which has helped them raise rounds to higher valuations and help startups with the meaningful relationships they need in their growth phase.
Speaking about the support provided by Venture Catalysts, Somdutta Assidius, said, “Finding a good mentor is the ‘secret sauce’ for a successful startup, and 9Unicorns and VCAT have been the driving force behind Assiduus Global. We have received support and resources from 9Unicorn to accelerate our growth. When properly equipped, we have been able to take Assiduus to establish our presence in our industry across the world. We were able to take off effortlessly and quickly into the real world through mentorship, financial insights, potential business opportunities, industry networking and access to a global network for global support,” said Somdutta SinghFounder and CEO, Assiduus Global.
Venture Catalysts has generated seed investments worth $100 million (about INR 782.4 crore) through its network. Out of 67 startups, 94 deals were executed, 27 of which resulted in partial or full exits, while the rest witnessed upsides. Corresponding to 17 deals, 13 startups were delisted due to inability to recover assets, or received less than 1x the return.
The integrated incubator has invested in startups with significant value propositions, investing in pre-seed, seed and Series A cycles, followed by support for its portfolio in subsequent cycles. Some of the biggest companies included in its portfolio are BharatPe, Vedantu, Zingbus, Beardo, SuprDaily, Innov8, Home Capital, BlowHorn among others. Not only has Venture Catalysts supported startups from the formation phase and helped them through the growth phase, but it has also democratized the startup ecosystem in the country. With over 3,000 angel investors in 55 cities, Venture Catalysts has the largest network in the country where it has helped raise awareness of seed investing through its masterclasses and tailored startup programs.
Reflecting on the growth of the venture capital industry, Dr. Sharma added, “The rise of startups in India has set a new benchmark for entrepreneurship worldwide. Venture Catalysts has taken preemptive action to create a diverse and holistic portfolio of high-growth potential companies, leveraging capital, mentorship, and our network of HNIs, Family Offices, CXOs, and more. Our goal is to democratize the entrepreneurial ecosystem, allowing more investors to explore higher yielding asset classes to achieve profitable returns in a faster turnaround time. As a by-product of these initiatives, we have also contributed to wealth creation and job creation in the country.