500 Startups forms $25M fund for India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh

Dated: July 04, 2016

After 500 Kimchis for Korea, 500 Durians for Southeast Asia, and 500 TukTuks for Thailand, it is now time for the ‘Kulfi’ fund. 500 Startups has announced 500 Kulfi, a $25 million. The fund will focus on early stage companies that have demonstrated traction, and will look to invest in up to 25-50 startups every year. The new 500 Kulfis, named after an Indian frozen dairy dessert, will focus on India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

The announcement arrives on the heels of what feels like the first real wave of criticism for India’s startup ecosystem in recent times. The Kulfi India fund will be sector-agnostic, but the early-stage venture firm will take a close look at fintech, edtech, health and wellness, data analytics, content and SaaS/SMB, it said.

Highlighting the importance of Indian market, the company further said, “As Walter Thompson (500 Startups Journalist-in- Residence) recently noted, private equity investment activity in India was up 67 percent from 2014 to $21 billion. GDP is expected to grow at 7.6 percent this year, faster than any other large global economy.” Pankaj Jain, partner at 500 Startups, will run the 500 Kulfi fund. Note that he was appointed by the company to focus on India back in 2012.  “While the industry has been tweeting and blogging about doom and gloom hitting unicorns and startups alike, we believe the long-term opportunity remains as solid as ever,” Pankaj wrote in a statement. “We see market changes as part of a natural cycle.”

500 Startups has a considerable presence in India, having invested in over 50 companies since 2011, including ZipDial, SourceEasy, Instamojo, CultureAlley, SilverPush, KartRocket, and Headout. Last year alone, it did over 20 deals in India.

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