VC firm Bertelsmann announces $500 mn investment in Indian startups


Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) announced it will invest around $500 million in new startups in the country along with follow-up investments, and plans to open offices in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The venture capital arm of German media company Bertelsmann, BII will step up investment activity to up to eight new investments per year in the country and expand focus to make selective Series A investments.

Bertelsmann is a privately-held firm headquartered in Gütersloh, Germany, and had reported a revenue of €18.696 billion ($19.58 billion) in 2021.

“Bertelsmann India Investments will benefit from Bertelsmann’s Boost programme, which is being carried out based on our high investment capacity. It will help Bertelsmann continue to increase its growth momentum significantly,” said Carsten Coesfeld, CEO of Bertelsmann Investments.

“The Indian economy is seeing very strong growth right now, from which the venture capital industry in particular is benefiting as well,” Coesfeld said in a statement.

Since its launch in 2013, BII has invested in 17 companies, some already valued as unicorns, a company release said. BII has so far invested more than $1.06 billion in over 250 companies and funds, of which $285 million is invested in startups.

Bertelsmann has other businesses in India such as Penguin Random House, Fremantle India and Majorel.

The India arm of the fund has invested in companies including Eruditus, Licious, Shiprocket, Pepperfry, AgroStar, Lets Transport, Lendingkart and Rupeek, among others.

“Based on our increased allocation of $500 million, we expect to make six to eight new investments a year, for the next five years. We aim to connect with founders early,” said Pankaj Makkar, Managing Director of BII.

In 2022 and 2023, BII plans to focus on investments in the health tech, enterprise tech, future of work, fintech, agritech and other sectors.

BII said the fund will also keep an eye on disruptive technologies such as Web3 and deeptech.

“On the back of VC market potential in India, we now enable Pankaj Makkar and his successful BII team to expand their investment scope both in terms of sectors and volume,” said Shobhna Mohn, Chief Strategy Officer of Bertelsmann Investments.

Makkar added, “With a decade of experience, we have witnessed that founders and companies are exhibiting maturity at an early stage. No doubt, the industry landscape is changing and we are ready to dive in.”