Chinese heavyweights – Alibaba and Tencent have been bullish about Indian startups. So far, the duo has invested about $3.5 billion in a dozen startups. While Alibaba chalked out a plan to deploy $8 billion over the next four years, Tencent has been emphasising on making early bets in the range of $5 to 10 million.
To accelerate investment activity in India, the Jack Ma-led Alibaba is hiring Raghav Bahl, vice-president at Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP).
Bahl has been with BVP for more than seven years and serving board observers to companies including Swiggy, Bigbasket, Pharmeasy, and StayGlad amongst others. He is likely to assist current Alibaba’s investment team in India.
The Hangzhou-based behemoth has been witnessing a change in its Indian team. After serving three years as global managing director of Alibaba, K Guru Gowrappan had made an exit from the company in March this year.
Gowrappan acted as a key lieutenant to Alibaba’s executive chairman Ma for its India investments. Bahl would work with Madhur Deep who has been with the group for over two years. Presently, Deep heads strategy and investment for Alibaba in India.
Alibaba has emerged as one of the most prolific investors in India. This year, the group had placed $500 million bets on online grocer BigBasket and foodtech major Zomato. Besides the existing portfolio, it has identified sectors such as gaming, original content, movies, and over-the-top platforms for future investment.
The group is reportedly planning to launch an over-the-top (OTT) video service (less than 20 minutes) in India in collaboration with its Indian portfolio Paytm and its media and entertainment unit UCWeb.
To strengthen its position in one of the fledgling Internet economies globally, Alibaba also plans to spend about $2 billion towards e-commerce, logistics, and buy Paytm’s e-commerce arm. At present, it’s evaluating investments in three companies including a video analytics firm.
The development was first reported by ET.