Venture Capital Firm WaterBridge raises $150 million Second Fund

WaterBridge Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, has raised $150 million for its second fund, which is 50% larger than the intended size of $100 million, due to increased investor interest in a year that has seen an unprecedented flood of money into the Indian startup ecosystem.

The firm's final close occurs less than a year after its first close in 2020. The fund, which has invested in startups like Atlan, Bijnis, CityMall, Chalo, DoubtNut, Magicpin, PocketPills, and Unacademy, now has a total AUM of over $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 a statement.

“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,” says 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.

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

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

In 2020, the business introduced a dedicated seed funding programme named 'Fast Forward,' based on the requirement for speed to seed funding for founding teams. Some of the most well-known startups, such as OneCode, EloElo, BitClass, CuriousJr, and YellowMetal, have arisen through this programme in a surprisingly short period of time.

Especially in the previous half-decade, India's venture capital market has matured. Over $30 billion will be invested in Indian start-ups by 2021, and 39 new unicorns have already been created.

The second fund is an equal 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 business, about 75% of investors in the first fund also participated in the second, and the new fund additional LPs such as SIDBI (fund of funds), an Asian fund of funds, and a Middle East sovereign family office.
WaterBridge joins a long line of India-focused funds that have lately raised larger pools of capital to invest in emerging market companies, including Blume, A91 Partners, Stellaris, 3one4 Capital, and Chiratae, among others.