Matrix Partners, a US venture capital firm, may be trailing its rivals in investing in India, but it is going in as “the first leading venture capital firm to establish a fund in India,” said Paul Ferris, a founding partner.
Matrix has raised $150 million for Matrix India Fund, a multi-sector, multi-stage fund that is co-founded by local partners Avnish Bajaj and Rishi Navani.
Bajaj was the co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Baazee.com, an Indian online marketplace that has been acquired by eBay. Navani was previously managing director at Westbridge Capital Partners, an Indian VC which merged with Sequoia Capital in May.
Based in Mumbai, Matrix India will focus on consumer services which include internet, mobile value-added services, financial services, media/entertainment and travel/leisure companies.
Avnish Bajaj, founding managing director of Matrix Partners India said: “Even with the strong gross domestic product trajectory and explosive growth of consumption in the region, we have not scratched the surface in terms of seeing innovative, new consumer services for the Indian market.”
Matrix joins a number of other venture capital firms that have their eyes on India, if not offices set up there. These firms include Sequoia Capital India, Norwest Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Canaan Partners. New Enterprise Associates, which closed a $2.5 billion fund last month, is poised to launch a new India-dedicated fund. NEA, like Matrix, has partnered up with two Indian entrepreneurs.