VCs investment has come a long way in India in the past one decade. Post-2009, the ecosystem had observed audacious bets by little-known hedge fund Tiger Global. While Tiger Global had ruled the big ticket-size bets till 2014, Softbank and Alibaba along with Tencent have been writing bigger cheques for later stage startups.
Besides the aforementioned investors, there are many early and growth stage VCs functional including the likes of Sequoia, Accel, Nexus, Matrix and Blume amongst several others.
Notably, about 8-10 new local VC firms such as Fundamentum, Pravega, Stellaris and Unitary Helion also have come up to meet the capital requirement for growing number of startups.
While the majority of VC firms are grappling as far as exit route is concerned, little known Saama Capital is certainly an outlier. With three funds since its inception in 2012, the VC firm has an impeccable record in terms of exit. It had scored about 52X return on its Rs 12 crore bet on Paytm.
Similarly, before Snapdeal’s fall from the cliff, Saama exited from it with a 12X return.
The Ash Lilani and Suresh Shanmugham led VC firm also had exited from Sula Vineyards, SKS Microfinance, Prizm Payments, Tutorvista, App Labs and a couple of others. The firm’s first fund (under the name of SVB) was worth about $56 million while the second fund was $26 million, about half of the previous corpus.
Media reports estimated that first fund would offer a handsome 3X to 4X return to the firm. In the second fund, it already had made a killing with Paytm and Snapdeal exits. Samma Capital had raised its third fund in 2016. Importantly, it also exited from Mezi with American Express acquisition of the virtual travel assistant in January this year.
Meanwhile, according to an Economic Times report, it also has closed $100 million worth fourth fund. The new fund would be eying bets on consumer brands, software services, and financial technology segments.
Unlike other VCs, Saama believes in placing bets against obvious investing areas. It can also be gauged with its bet on Veeba Foods, a condiment and sauce maker and cold-pressed juice manufacturer – Raw Pressery.
If we look closer, Saama Capital is different from usual VC firms in various aspects. Besides technology, it doesn’t sigh away from grabbing sweet investment opportunities in the non-tech segment.
While none of the notable VC firms (we might be wrong) work without analysts who source and filter deals for partners and senior executives, Saama Capital doesn’t have such team. Currently, it operates with an 11 members team.
Smart investment thesis, going against popular trends in investing and impeccable exit record certainly make Saama Capital, an outlier in Indian VC community.