March 24, 2015 / 12:37 PM / 4 years ago

Accel launches $305 million Indian start-up fund

REUTERS - Accel Partners, the venture capital firm that has backed the likes of Facebook and Flipkart, is launching a $305 million India-focused fund to capitalise on the country’s favourable conditions for start-ups.

The investment is almost double the size of Accel’s last such fund — launched in 2011 — and will target technology businesses in the consumer, enterprise software, mobile and healthcare sectors, the Silicon Valley-based firm said on Tuesday.

A rising number of smartphone users, cheaper Internet and a vast middle class have turned India into one of the hottest markets for investors such as Accel, Singaporean wealth fund Temasek Holdings and Japan’s SoftBank Corp, fuelling growth of technology start-ups including Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola.

Investors pumped $4.5 billion into the Indian Internet space in the 13 months to February, Morgan Stanley said in a report, while sources have told Reuters of heightened competition among investors as they scout for India’s next billion-dollar business.

Industry analysts value Flipkart at about $11 billion and Ola at around $1 billion. Snapdeal says it is worth slightly more than $5 billion.

“While there is more competition (investors) and more start-ups, some of the better companies have begun to accelerate a lot faster and get a lot bigger. So, yes, we do expect to help build many large companies,” Accel’s Subrata Mitra told Reuters.

Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Mumbai; Editing by David Goodman

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