• The syndicate invested INR 8 Cr in 9 startups in FY22, evaluated 127 deals and onboarded more than 80 co-investors.
• Some of Bipin Taneja’s portfolio companies includes D2C platform Sanfe, Fintech – Finsara, Blue Tokai from D2C and Retail segment, 10x Academy in booming edtech and puretech startups like Gokwik, Lime Chat.
• Bipin Taneja-backed start-up GoKwik saw its markup soar 15x, while portfolio companies Sanfe and Finsara witnessed their markups rise by 1.8x and 1.5x, respectively.
Although a global pandemic raged over the past two years and brought the economy to a near-standstill, the start-up ecosystem in India quickly bounced back even after multiple Nationwide Lockdown.
In fact, the sector’s outlook was significantly boosted by a dramatic rise in early stage funding in 2021. According to a report published by leading start-up and entrepreneur’s media platform, the seed stage deal count rose nearly 80% last year compared to 2020, while early-stage start-up raised $1.1 Bn in funding, with an average ticket size of $2.3 Mn.
The growth prospects of Indian startups have led more investors to join the fray and grab a piece of the pie. Even big venture capital firms have followed suit and placed their bets on fledgling startups. But in spite of the funding rush from all quarters, the emergence of micro-VC funds as a suitable funding instrument for startups and small businesses has turned out to be a significant trend.
But amid all active and prominent micro-VCs, Gurgaon based Bipin Taneja launched an investment syndicate. He has invested INR 8 Cr in 9 startups in FY2021-22 and claimed to have evaluated 127 deals and onboarded more than 80 co-investors. The syndicate invests in 5 broad segments, including fintech, enterprise SaaS, D2C, F&B, Digital Content Creators & Real Estate among others. It plans to add 20-24 startups to its portfolio by the end of FY23 and will participate in more funding rounds to diversify its portfolio.
Incidentally, syndicates allow individual investors to fund startups alongside experienced angels and VCs. Put simply, a syndicate acts like a fund pooled from several investors to make multiple investments. Essentially, the syndicate lead (the lead investor) will put the money in a mini fund of sorts, and the approved backers of that syndicate will then pump money into the fund.
Seeding The Syndicate
The syndicate was set up in Jan 2021 by Bipin Taneja. Who’s is a hospitality graduate and having rich experience of 15 years in Hospitality, F&B, Real Estate and Aviation. Working in widely diversified fields such as tech, real estate, F&B and branding, he has gained a deep insight into a wide variety of industry segments.
Bipin Taneja initially scouts for prospective startups, the co-founders and then put LP’s money into the companies once finalised. Eventually, co-investors can fund these startups after gauging their investment worthiness. This experience of operating in different fields, coupled with presence in the early-stage funding arena, gives an edge over others. Traditional investors are also looking at start-up funding, and all they need is trust. People like us bring that trust factor (needed for start-up funding).”
Speaking at a D2C conference recently, syndicate lead Bipin Taneja said
“ People are already habitual of taking risks with investing in stocks, Mutual Fund etc. With the accessibility of investing in startups, people have started allocating at least 10-30% of the investment quota into startups. And with Shark Tank India Season, this figure is expected to go up with every year “
Shedding light on first year of operations, Bipin said, “I got great deals in FY22 and achieved great markups. I invested in sustainable businesses and leveraged my experience of investing in early-stage startups.”
Deal Share, Deal Size, Location and More
Around 37% of the syndicate’s total deployed investment went to seed stage funding, followed by pre-Series A rounds that grabbed 31% of the total investment. In addition, Bipin Taneja also cliched deals in pre-seed.
Location-wise, He has invested in startups from Bengaluru, Gurugram and Mumbai, as well as other smaller cities such as Jaipur.He has also backed startups located in the US and Middle east.
He also claimed that the average deal size ranged between $60K and $ 190K, adding that the syndicate planned to increase the amount in the coming years.
The Road Ahead
Elaborating on the plans, Bipin said that the syndicate would be there for the long haul and stay “committed to high-octane and futuristic deals”. It would also onboard long-term partners to realise these goals.
“Building a startup takes a long time, sometimes five to eight years. So, I don’t want to invest in these startups for quick exits” he said.
The syndicate has not made any exits so far and has put a specific focus on scaling up its bottom line. The syndicate says that it has legacy advantages by its side which can enable it to ramp up its investments accordingly. Along with that, Syndicate also looks keen to bring in long term partners to fuel its growth.
However, he was concerned about the ‘mushrooming’ of syndicates in the past few years and expected more consolidations for the industry to stay competitive. Another critical area should be due diligence to choose the right startups for funding and thus create trust among investors.