Jack Ma has delivered another thrust into the Indian market by partnering with Ganesh Ventures for a USD 250-million investment in Indian startups. The fund, which closed at USD 30 million, is heavily supported by Alibaba chairman Ma’s eWTP (Electronic World Trade Platform) Ecosystem Fund and Hong Kong-based Landmark Capital.
Founded by Jessica Wong, Ganesh Ventures seeks to invest in sectors such as telecom, media and technology, consumer products, fintech, and health-tech within a duration of three to five years. It is being backed by investors from Europe, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China. As part of its investment, Ganesh Ventures will open offices in Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Hong Kong and Beijing. It is expecting to finalise five to six deals within the year.
“We’ve been testing the waters in India for some time and have gained a valuable understanding of the market. The success we have achieved so far with our partners and portfolio strengthens our confidence to engage with more stakeholders and enhance our portfolio,” ET quoted Wong.
Wong has been the co-founder of Cyber Carrier, a Hong Kong-based fund, which has been backing Indian firms in areas like fintech, travel, and discretionary healthcare sectors. A few of the companies include KrazyBee, Zoomcar, Indialends, HappyEasyGo, GigIndia, and BeYouPlus. Recently, Cyber Carrier sold out its stakes in student-lending platform KrazyBee, for a profit, to Xiaomi and Shunwei Capital.
“After years of exploring and analyzing India market, we can say with confidence that our investment and post-investment management strategy has worked very well, which is fully validated by our outstanding performance. Our new fund has already participated in the further rounds of HappyEasyGo, GigIndia, Indialends and BeYouPlus re-asserting confidence in our previous investments,” Wong said in a statement.
“Chinese (investors) support not just through equity and debt financing but also operationally and technology-wise,” ET quoted Navin Honagudi, managing director at Kae Capital, which has partnered with Shunwei Capital, a Chinese venture capital firm, in certain portfolio firms. “They are very focussed on a few sectors that they are comfortable with and don’t spread themselves too thin. From that perspective, if they invest such large sums of money, backed by such pedigree investors, a sizeable impact (or growth) will not take more than 2-3 years to be seen among Indian startups.”
Alibaba Group is one of the Indian startup ecosystem’s most active investors. Led by Jack Ma, it has been strategically placing its fingers in e-commerce and digital payments, sectors close to its own businesses. Some of its significant investments are online grocery startup BigBasket, logistics firm Xpressbees, and online restaurant discovery and food delivery company Zomato.
Jack Ma’s eWTP Ecosystem Fund, which is now a major investor in Ganesh Ventures fund, was initiated in May with the goal of encouraging cross-border e-commerce between China and India at USD 600 million. Chinese investment interests in India have provided India an entry into the global ecosystem, lighting the way up for further foreign investments in the future.