Navigating the Indian Seed Landscape
No one can doubt that the Indian PE/VC ecosystem is going through a golden run. The amount of money flowing into the ecosystem is breaking records –records set just the previous year! If I narrow the PE/VC down to just “start-ups” then Indian start-ups have raised $11.3 billion this year – up from $10.5 billion raised last year – the good times are truly here.
This massive influx of money and strong tailwinds make it seem as though raising capital is getting easier. But, with the number of start-ups growing as fast (if not faster) than the money supply, the real picture for a start-up raising money today is – disconcertingly different. The discussion of what metrics does it take to raise a round, what the different stage VCs focus on when you raise, etc. is a polarizing topic. One that I regularly have now with founders who are raising, founders who have raised and with funders of all stages – but there isn’t a silver bullet.
Therefore, when Yuki Kawamura shared Pear VC’s report, aptly titled, Navigating the New Seed Landscape, he could not have sent it at a more opportune time. Mar Hershenson, Managing Partner of Pear VC, created this report analyzing the US VC ecosystem but there are several parallels we can draw for our ecosystem here. For example:
- It confirms something that seed investors have long
known, i.e., the time, amount and metrics required to raise a Series A round has
- The money needed to get a venture ready for Series A has also increased
- Series A investors want to see positive unit economics and traction before putting in growth rounds
- Traction has a direct correlation to valuation
- Second time and successful founders get a premium valuation
- Where you locate your start-up does affect its initial valuation
There are several other learnings in the report, but the one slide that stuck with me is:
- A seed investor (like me) backs the team
- The angel investor backs the traction, and
- The Series A investor backs the market.
The report then gets into further details as to what your start-up must emphasize when you are raising a new round. It provides a founder the VC view on where your venture must be before attempting to raise that the Seed, Angel, or Series A round. I believe that this presentation is manna for founders. I Whatsapp’d it to my founders in the morning. Now I share it with you!