Chinese conglomerate Fosun International to make its first investment in India in Ixigo

This would be the first venture transaction by Fosun International in India after setting shop in the country almost a year ago

The $15-20 million round, which was first reported by ET in December, has been led by marquee venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, with the Chinese investor coming on board as a co-investor, according to sources with knowledge of the developments.
NEW DELHI: Fosun International is in the final stages of investing in online travel search marketplace Ixigo, a deal that is expected to mark the Chinese investment conglomerate's first venture transaction in India, almost a year after it first set up shop in the country. The $15-20 million round, which was first reported by ET in December, has been led by marquee venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, with the Chinese investor coming on board as a co-investor, according to sources with knowledge of the developments.

ET, however, could not ascertain if Nasdaq-listed online travel agency MakeMyTrip, sector and stage-agnostic investment firm SAIF Partners and smartphone manufacturer Micromax, all existing backers of Ixigo, have also participated in the latest equity financing round. It is also yet unclear the exact sta ke picked up by the new investors in the company.


SAIF Partners and Make MyTrip had picked up 76.6% in Ixigo for $18.5 million in August 2011, valuing it at about $25 million. SAIF bought 56.7% while MakeMyTrip picked up 19.9% then. In June 2015, Micromax picked up a stake in the company by investing about $4 million. Fosun, the Shanghai-based Chinese investor, had earlier invested in MakeMyTrip and Hyderabad-based injectables specialist Gland Pharma.

Fosun's investment operations in Asia's third-largest economy are being led by Rahul Raisurana, a former MD at Standard Chartered Private Equity's India unit, along with Tej Kapoor -who previously headed DMG Information (DMGI), the strategic investment arm of British media conglomerate Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), and was also at South African internet and media conglomerate Naspers.

Separately, Ajay Lakhotia -who previously led the domestic operations of Vertex Venture Management, the venture capital arm of Temasek, the investment company of the government of Singapore -also came on board last September. Both Kapoor and Lakhotia, executive directors at Fosun India, will be leading the Chinese investor's venture capital transactions in India, while Raisurana will lead its private equity investments in the country. Emails sent to Kapoor and Lakhotia did not elicit any responses at the time of going to press, and Ixigo CEO Aloke Bajpai declined comment.

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According to the sources cited above, Fosun will be targeting investments across stages -from incubating ventures to writing cheques of up to $200 million. In the venture space, it is believed to be targeting tech-focussed startups operating in the healthcare, fin-tech and consumer-facing segments such as ecommerce and travel, and may partner with a number of prominent venture capital firms to source deals and potentially co-invest with them.

The company is the latest among a growing group of strategic and financial investors that are either creating or bulking up their investment teams in India. In November, ET reported that Naspers had set up its venture capital arm here as it looks to step up pace of investments in the country.

More recently, SoftBank the largest strategic investor in the Indian startup ecosystem, has also made Delhi one of its outposts for its $100 billion tech-focused Vision Fund, and is believed to be in the process of hiring people to scout for and manage investments in India.
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