Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma has stepped up his aggressive push into India by joining forces with a $250 million Chinese venture capital fund called Ganesh Ventures, as per reports. The company will be its strategic investment partner here.
The India-focussed fund, which seeks to build a strong network between Indian entrepreneurs and Chinese investors and entrepreneurs, has made its first close of $30 million backed by Ma’s ambitious eWTP Ecosystem Fund and Hong Kong-based Landmark Capital.
Ganesh Ventures plans to deploy its entire corpus in domestic startups over the next 3-5 years, beginning with companies in the media, technology, consumer products, financial technology and health technology sectors. It will set up offices in Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Hong Kong and Beijing and intends to finalise half a dozen deals this year.
“We want to engage not just at the early stage but also at the growth stage,”
said Jessica Wong, managing partner of Ganesh Ventures.
The anchor investor in Ganesh Ventures, eWTP (Electronic World Trade Platform) was launched in May as a $600 million cross-border fund to drive strategic investments to help companies accelerate their international expansions and to support technology innovations. It is backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and its subsidiary Ant Financial, and helmed by Yu Yongfu, former chairman of Alibaba’s Digital Entertainment Group.
Wong was a founding partner of Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Cyber Carrier, which has invested about $30 million in several Indian startups including KrazyBee, Zoomcar, IndiaLends, HappyEasyGo, GigIndia, and BeYouPlus.
Cyber Carrier’s investments in India have yielded absolute returns of more than 300%, said Wong, with a profitable partial exit from Krazy-Bee in October when Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and venture capital fund Shunwei Capital invested in the student-lending platform.
Ganesh Ventures made its first investment in India in fintech firm IndiaLends, originally a portfolio company under the Cyber Carrier fund as per reports.
Ganesh Ventures seeks to connect Indian entrepreneurs with the Chinese startup ecosystem and stakeholders to tap into cross-border resources, exchange learnings, and achieve market synergies. It has received commitments from institutional investors in Europe and Southeast Asia as well for its entire corpus.
Indian entrepreneurs have positive feedback for this investment procedures.
India’s large market has made it an obvious destination for Chinese investors, with several Chinese venture capital funds scouting for and aggressively increasing bets in the Indian startup ecosystem.
This has led to the creation of a more global investor landscape for India, which so far has been dominated by the Indian affiliates of US-based venture capital funds including Sequoia Capital, India, Accel Partners, Matrix Partners and Lightspeed Ventures.