Ankur Capital prepares for third fund

The investment theme of Ankur Capital centres on deep science and digitalisation. Now with the third fund, it aims to put a larger quantum of money into more number of tech startups.
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Hello Reader,

“We all fall down!”

The crypto crisis continues. After India’s TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) rules came into effect on July 1, crypto trades across the country’s three biggest exchanges have fallen by at least 70 percent. The data compared trading volumes on June 30 and July 3. 

Meanwhile, crypto lending platform Celsius Network downsized its workforce, laying off nearly 150 of its 650 employees. And, Coinbase-backed Vauld announced the suspension of its operations. 

Facebook parent Meta too plans to shut down its crypto wallet Novi even before its full launch. However, the company will “repurpose” its digital wallet technology in its future projects, mainly its metaverse initiative. 

In other news, Gujarat, Meghalaya, and Karnataka emerged as the best performing states for budding entrepreneurs, according to the startup ranking report by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).


Ankur Capital’s investment thesis

The tone for Ankur Capital’s investment thesis was set in the early 2010s when co-founders Rema Subramanian and Ritu Verma travelled across the country to understand the pulse of the nation. 

“There were a lot of highways that were being built in 2010 and internet penetration was increasing. We also saw initial shoots of science-led entrepreneurs,” Rema told YourStory.

Over the years, the early-stage venture capital firm has backed startups that use science and technology to solve problems in sectors such as agriculture and healthcare. 

Ankur Capital is now set for a bigger stage as it prepares for its third fund with a size in the range of $125-150 million. Its earlier two funds were about $8 million and $52 million.

Key takeaways:

  • The first close, to the tune of $60 million, of the new fund is expected by the end of this year or early next year.
  • Ankur Capital has so far invested in about 24 startups from Fund I and II, in the range of $500k-$5 million.
  • The third fund will invest in around 20-25 startups and the investment amount per startup could go up to as much as $8-10 million.

SaaS startups hiring amid layoffs

The funding winter across the globe has also affected the domestic market, with nearly 12,000 employees laid off by Indian startups, according to Crunchbase.

But one sector is bucking the gloomy trend—Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

While LeadSquared, India's latest unicorn, is preparing for a massive recruitment drive after the $153 million fundraise, other SaaS companies including actyv.ai and Supplynote confirmed their recruitment plans with YourStory.

Raghu Subramanian, Founder and Global CEO of Actyv.ai, said, “We have had a 5x growth in headcount since February 2022. The current headcount is around 75 and we plan to close the year with 250 employees.”

India’s SaaS market is expected to reach $50 billion by 2030, up from about $10 billion in 2020, Bessemer Venture Partners said in a recent report.

Other startups hiring

  • E-learning platform Utkarsh Classes confirmed plans to hire 500 employees.
  • upGrad announced that it was planning to add 3,000 people over the coming months.
  • PhonePe plans to hire 2,800 people across verticals this year.

Inside Netcore’s Unbxd acquisition

Customer engagement is critical for ecommerce brands and app-first retailers to survive. This is where no-code platform Netcore Cloud's AI-powered search engine helps its clients track shopper interactions and implement personalised recommendations.

Earlier this year, it acquired US-based personalisation company Unbxd with an investment of $100 million, the largest deal in the Indian SaaS sector in this decade.

"Our customisation product suite complements Unbxd's AI-powered search optimisation and relevant solutions, reinforcing Netcore Cloud's position as a one-stop solution for digital-first ecommerce brands," Kalpit Jain, Group CEO, Netcore Cloud told YourStory.

Netcore's acquisitions:

  • 2019: Acquired AI chatbot startup Quinto.ai in an IP and talent deal.
  • 2019: Took over Bengaluru-based Boxx.ai to leverage its AI and ML capabilities.
  • 2020: Acquired real-time, no-code product experience platform Hansel.io.

Eyeing an initial public offering (IPO) by the end of the current financial year, Netcore is relying on its strategic investments to meet the target of 30-40 percent revenues from international markets. 

"We plan to double our workforce by this year, fuel our expansion plans, and establish a strong foothold in the developed market," Kalpit added.

Kalpit Jain, Group CEO, Netcore Cloud


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