2411/21

Mumbai: Early stage venture capital firm WaterBridge Ventures has raised its second fund at $150 million, 50% more than the planned size of $100 million, owing to heightened investor interest in a year which has seen unprecedented flow of liquidity into Indian startup ecosystem.

The final close comes within a year of the firm announcing its first close in 2020. The fund that has backed companies such as Atlan, Bijnis, CityMall, Chalo, DoubtNut, Magicpin, PocketPills and Unacademy among others now has a total AUM of more than $250 million.

“The firm has also been steadfast on making the most of the favourable macro environment by making exits from investments like Unacademy and a few others are in the pipeline,” the firm said in statement.


The firm has already made 10 investments from its second fund.

“In the past 4 years, WaterBridge has developed a unique top down sector thesis driven approach that has allowed us to make early bets in future category leaders,” said Manish Kheterpal, managing partner, WaterBridge Ventures.

“Prior vast experience as fund managers, a unique network of sourcing and specialist deal prosecution skills in tech-led disruption across six core sectors such as business to business (B2B), consumer, education, financial services, healthcare and global SaaS, that has led to more than 70% success rate in our early stage investments,” he added.

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Founded in 2017 by Manish Kheterpal, Ashish Jain with Anjali Sosale joining in in 2020 as the second fund was being launched, WaterBridge plans to make 25 investments at the seed to Series A stages (cheque sizes ranging from $500,000 to $3 Million) while backing its portfolio winners with further capital in subsequent rounds.

“Our team stands out in consistently picking Bharat-centric investments and founding teams,” said Ashish Jain, partner at WaterBridge.

According to the firm, gauging the need for speed to seed funding for founding teams, they launched a dedicated seed funding programme called ‘Fast Forward’ in 2020. In a relatively short period of time, some leading companies like OneCode, EloElo, BitClass, CuriousJr, and YellowMetal have emerged from this programme.

India’s venture capital market has come of age especially over the last half decade. Just in 2021, over $30 billion of funding is going to fuel start-ups in India and 39 new unicorns have been created so far.

“The larger second fund gives us dry powder to tap into this growing opportunity with an ability to back entrepreneurs with more capital and support them for longer. Our curated portfolio approach allows us for reasonable follow-on capital reserve for our best-performing companies and back them through several funding rounds after our entry,” Kheterpal added.

The second fund is an equall split between global and domestic investors. “Aside from institutional investors, family offices from Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Middle East, India and the US, WaterBridge also raised funds from CXO’s of tech companies like BigBasket, EXL, IndiaMART, RateGain and Teleperformance; and global senior partners of funds like KKR, TCV and Providence,” the release said.

According to the firm , almost 75% of its first fund investors also invested in the second fund while the new fund added LP’s like SIDBI (fund of funds), an Asian fund of funds, as well as a Middle East sovereign family office.

WaterBridge joins a long list of India-focused funds such as Blume, A91 Partners, Stellaris, 3one4 Capital, Chiratae among others that have recently raised larger pool of capital to invest in the emerging economy companies.

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