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High-Stakes is a unique series that focuses on dissecting the investments of venture capital and private equity firms to gain insights into the portfolio of companies they’ve invested in, industries they focus on, and their investment process. In this edition of High-Stakes, we’ll be focusing on Helion Venture Partners

Founded in 2006, Helion is an early to mid-stage, India focused venture capital firm with $600 million+ (USD) under management. Helion primarily invests in technology and technology-powered startups in segments such as e-commerce, mobility, online services, enterprise software and outsourcing.

Team

Dr. Ashish Gupta– Senior Managing Director

Dr. Ashish Gupta is the co-founder of Helion and holds a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. Apart from being an author of several patents, publications and a book by MIT press, Ashish has also co-founded two successful companies – Tavant Technologies and Junglee (it was acquired by Amazon). Ashish serves on the board of several companies, including Hindustan Unilever, Pubmatic, Simplilearn, Gupshup and Infoedge. 

Sanjeev Aggarwal– Senior Managing Director

Prior to co-founding Helion, Sanjeev was the Founder and CEO of Daksh, a pioneer in the BPO sector. The company was acquired by IBM in 2004 and Sanjeev served as its CEO till June 2006. He currently serves on the boards of Azure Power, ShopClues, BigBasket and EyeQ. 

Rahul Chandra– Venture Partner

Rahul Chandra is the co-founder of Helion and has close to two decades of experience in venture capital investing and corporate development in technology product and services companies. The UC Berkeley grad currently serves on the boards of UnitedLex, Netambit, Mindworks, Shubham Housing, and Seclore.   

Rajiv Kataria– Venture Partner

Rajiv Kataria is a venture partner at Helion and has held several top positions over the years, managing the mobile business of Aircel in India’s northern region and helped set up the company’s enterprise division. Prior to joining Aircel, he worked with the salt-to-software conglomerate Tata group and launched the Delhi circle for Tata Teleservices. The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad grad, currently serves on the board of R and R Salons Pvt. Ltd.

Analysis

A total of 126 investments across 64 startups have been considered for this analysis, and the analysis is based on data from Crunchbase. The startups included are those for which adequate information exists, and this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the investments made by Helion. The total funding raised indicates the total amount of funding raised by the startups from Helion and various other investors across the different rounds that Helion has participated in. The estimated revenue range was available for 51 startups, and the funding amount was available for 110 investments. 

The startups have been classified according to various industries based on data from Pitchbook, and the sector classification is based on Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) developed by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and Standard & Poor’s. The sector classification is subjective and has been made considering the sector/industry they closely resemble. 

Helion’s investments are spread across three countries- the US, India, and Singapore. India leads the charge attracting 70% of the total funding amount, followed by the US with 22%. 

True to being an early to mid-stage venture capital firm, Helion has focused on funding rounds from Series A to Series D. Series A (33) and B are tied for first place in terms of the number of investments, whereas Series C (US$ 360.1 million) leads in terms of funding followed by Series D (US$ 280.9 million) and Series B (US$ 271.2 million).

The consumer discretionary sector has attracted the highest amount of funding (44%) and is ranked second in terms of the number of startups (27%). Prominent industries in this sector include internet retail (US$ 308.1 million) and home furnishings ($97.6 million). 

Founded in 2011, BigBasket is an e-grocery giant that allows users to buy anything from fruits and veggies to gardening and kitchen accessories. Recently, Tata Digital acquired a majority stake in the startup. The startup has raised close to $238 million (USD) across 4 funding rounds between 2014 and 2017 from prominent investors such as Trifecta Capital Advisors, Bessemer Venture Partners, and the International Finance Corporation.  Livspace is a tech-driven interior design startup that brings together designers, service partners and brands, to make dream designs come to life. The startup has raised close to $98 million (USD) across 4 funding rounds between 2014 and 2018. Founded in 2013, Toppr is a test prep platform that covers major competitive exams like JEE, NEET, CA Foundation, and Olympiads. The startup also provides coding classes, homework help and a school operating system. Toppr has raised close to $54 million (USD) between 2014 and 2018 and is backed by investors such as SAIF Partners, Brand Capital and Kaizenvest. 

The communication services sector is ranked first in terms of the number of startups (30%) and second in funding (24%). Prominent industries in this sector include application software (US$ 105.2 million) and media & information services (US$ 89.2 million). 

Slintel is an online platform that helps companies identify potential buyers in their market. It enables companies to enrich their leads, understand buyer behaviour and streamline their pitch. The startup raised $1.5 million (USD) in seed funding from investors such as Accel and Stellaris Venture Partners. Founded in 2014, MoEngage is a customer engagement platform that has a presence in more than 35 countries and processes a staggering one trillion data points per month. The startup has raised close to $13.2 million (USD) between 2015 and 2018. It is backed by the likes of Matrix Partners India, Exfinity Venture Partners and VenturEast. 

Together, the financial and information technology sector constitute 21% of the total funding amount and 25% of the startups. Prominent industries in the financial sector include consumer finance (US$ 75.9 million) and financial software (US$ 31.5 million). 

Shubham Housing is a housing finance startup led by Co-founder and CEO Sanjay Chaturvedi. Founded in 2010, the startup offers affordable and customizable housing finance. The startup has raised close to $76 million (USD) between 2012 and 2018.  

Summary

Overall, Helion has participated in funding rounds totalling $1.3 billion (USD) and has made 126+ investments in 64+ startups. Helion made 40% of its investments in just three years between 2014 and 2016. Thirty-nine of the 51 startups for which the data was available had an estimated revenue range of $50 million (USD) or less. With just five of the 64 startups closing down and 29 successful exits, Helion’s shrewd strategy and experienced team are headed in the right direction.

For more extensive analysis and Market Intelligence reports feel free to approach us or visit our website: Venture Capital Market Intelligence Reports | VCBay.

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