Indian Angel Network to invest in startups in UK, Singapore

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The Indian Angel Network, the country’s oldest and largest angel investor network, will now scout for investment opportunities in the United Kingdom and Singapore.

The decision to invest in UK and Singapore-based early-stage ventures has been taken to provide companies in its portfolio access to global markets, tap into the Indian diaspora as well as to rope in international investors to participate in domestic startups, according to IAN co-founder Saurabh Srivastava.

“A fifth of our members are based outside the country and they have identified great opportunities in these markets,” said Srivastava. IAN has previously invested across geographies, including Sri Lanka, Canada, France and Hong Kong. It has invested over $2.5 million (Rs 15.6 crore) in 10 startups in the island nation, along with Google India managing director Rajan Anandan’s early-stage fund Blue Ocean Ventures. “The idea is to unlock as much early-stage capital as possible, because of its paucity,” said tech evangelist and IAN member Sharad Sharma. IAN, which expects to have its British operations up and running within the next three months, has been working with various government institutions such as UK Trade and Investments and UK-based angel networks, as it looks to establish its presence there.

“We have started the investment process, and if things fall in place, we should announce our first deal within the next six months,” he said.

IAN will formally start its operations in Singapore in the latter half of 2014. In February, it had invested an undisclosed sum in Singapore and Seattle-based search portal startup Mobilewalla, a round that was led by its members Sharad Sharma and Venkat Raju. “We want to do this by design, rather than as one-off investments, which has happened earlier,” Srivastava said. The angel investor network, which typically invests less than $1 million (Rs 6.3 crore), with its sweet spot ranging between $400,000 (Rs 2.5 crore) and $600,000 (Rs 3.8 crore) for stakes of between 15% and 30%, will apply the same investment mandate in the UK and Singapore.

“No one has really done this before, and therefore, it will be a learning process as we go ahead,” Srivastava said.

IAN, which looks to stay invested for about three to five years, has invested in over 40 ventures, across sectors such as internet, information technology, education, travel and tourism and mobile.

It counts companies such as online education company Aurus Network, data security company Druva Software and social gaming venture HashCube among its portfolio. It recently exited mobile video streaming startup Jigsee in February this year.

IAN, which has about 260 members globally, counts prominent angel investors like Hero Cycles managing director Sunil Munjal, HCL cofounder Ajai Chowdhry and Sanjeev Bhikchandani, cofounder and chief executive of internet company Info Edge, in its network.

Original Article Published in Economic Times

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Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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