Investing in Indian Startups

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Investing in Indian Startups


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Indian startups are booming. The country’s middle class is growing rapidly, the population is technologically savvy and the economy is doing well.

Unfortunately, I have only one Indian startup in my portfolio. But it’s a banger. The company is ClearTax, and it is killing it. ClearTax is kind of like TurboTax for India, but it offers more financial services. The company has raised $65 million from top-tier investors, including Sequoia and notable Indian venture capitalists.  

I got a small allocation in ClearTax through a 2014 FundersClub Y Combinator fund. So sometimes, it is possible to invest in Indian startups. But the startups have to have a U.S. corporate entity and be raising money in the U.S.

I do know of one syndicate on AngelList that has some Indian deals occasionally, and that’s Sumon Sadhu. I’m not sure how active he is these days, but I do know he syndicated ClearTax back in the day. 

AngelList also has an entire division dedicated to Indian startup investing. Unfortunately, you have to be an Indian resident to invest. I hope this will change soon, because I’d love to have more exposure to Indian startups. Their valuations are generally far lower than those in the states. Founders are scrappy, and there’s a lot of disruption happening in the economy. I plan to keep an eye out for any promising investment opportunities in this space that I can participate in.

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