Matrix Partners India Managing Director Vikram Vaidyanathan (left), Avnish Bajaj, Founder and Managing Director (center) and Tarun Davda, Managing Director (right)

Story of Matrix Partners India – Early-Stage Investor, foundersfirst!

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So far, you have been reading about the stories of many Indian startups and how they got funded. Today’s exciting story is about a startup which is in the business of investing in other startups – yes, it is an early-stage investor!

Matrix Partners India is an investment firm targeting the Indian enterprise and consumer market at the seed, early and early growth stages. Following a “foundersfirst!”​ philosophy, the company invests in entrepreneurs across sectors, and is personally committed to helping build world-changing companies.

Matrix Partners began in Boston in 1977. Matrix Partners India was co-founded by Avnish Bajaj, Vikram Vaidyanathan and Tarun Davda in 2006. Avnish was the Founder of Bazzi, which was sold to eBay. He draws his energy from working with best in-class Founders with a burning ambition to create large companies with a lasting impact. Vikram brings his experience to the table as a product developer, start-up team member and non-profit manager, FMCG marketer and strategy consultant. Tarun is an intrapreneur turned VC who has had the unique opportunity to build and lead two successful Internet businesses in India.

The startup currently has offices in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, and currently manages over $1 billion. The company invests across a variety of sectors including consumer technology, B2B, enterprise, fintech, among others. Ola, Quikr, Practo, Dailyhunt, Mswipe, FiveStar and Treebo are few of the companies that Matrix has invested in and continues to partner closely with.  Matrix Partners has a global network of funds investing in the US, China and India with $5 billion under management.

Matrix Partners India considers the quality, passion and commitment of a company’s core team more importantly than any other element. The startup gets to know founders early, ideally well before they are ready to raise capital. It invests between seed and series B initially in companies primarily targeting the Indian market. The startup prefers to be the lead investor and often invest on their own but also co-invest with other investors.

“I have genuinely never been more excited than I am today, and I feel that the next 15 to 20 years are going to see significant internet market cap creation. In the past, the mistake people made is get excited and lose sight of the next 10-20 years of journey. It is a bit different from the markets of 2015-16. The best way to categorize is not conservative or bullish, but cautiously optimistic. We will keep investing at a steady pace, more optimistic today than a year ago.”

– Avnish Bajaj, Founder and Managing Director

“It’s a privilege to do what we do. It’s a privilege to work with extremely passionate, extremely intelligent entrepreneurs who are looking to change the world and create impact. We are in the fortunate position where we get a ringside view into their journey and it’s very gratifying.”

– Tarun Davda, Managing Director

In 2019, Matrix Partners India closed Fund III with committed capital of $300 million. The startup counts leading university endowments, financial institutions, and foundations across Europe, North America and the Middle East as its investors. With its third fund, the startup is focusing on social commerce platforms, local language content platform, last-mile first-mile mobility solutions, fintech, and even agritech.

“If you look at India’s internet users, they are growing to 400 million to 500 million. And they are consuming a significant amount of content than two years back. There is a growth in mobile internet users, explosion in data consumption, and pervasive 4G coverage. Also, the needs and the behaviors of the next 500 million internet users are going to be very different from the first 100 million. There is going to be a big opportunity in the local language.”

– Tarun Davda, Managing Director

There is a rise in disposable income driven by increasing GDP per capita that makes the market more lucrative. According to Vikram Vaidyanathan, fintech as a space can create the most amount of impact across people with low-credit, no-credit, SMEs, Tier-III and Tier-IV markets. The company is bullish about the growing and expanding India opportunity.

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