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Mobile-based consumer internet firms will be 2016 winners: Blume Ventures’ Nath

Mumbai-based seed-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures recently raised $30 million for its second fund to mark the first fundraising milestone. The fund has an overall target corpus of $60 million.

As the group begins the second leg of its investment journey, Sanjay Nath, co-founder and managing partner of Blume Ventures, shared the company’s strategy and outlook for 2016.

He said the lines between seed and Series A rounds are increasingly becoming blurred with hedge funds like Tiger Global coming early and funds like Sequoia Capital doing early-stage and public-market investments. “Seed rounds have become larger.

Therefore, our strategy for Fund II is to have a larger fund. Companies want you to put more capital, they want you to support them long. Therefore, the fund size has gone up from $20 million to $60 million,” Nath said.

Of the notable exists out of its 60-odd investments with Fund I, Nath said TaxiForSure’s acquisition by Ola was one of the most interesting as it got not just cash in return but also stock in Ola. He also considers the ZipDial deal, Twitter’s first acquisition in India, as one of Blume’s best investments ever.

Commenting on emerging opportunities, he said the outliers will come from companies that are focused on consumer internet around mobile. He said the focus has been on companies that were building the front-end like customer acquisition, sales and lead generation channels so far. Now the attention has shifted to startups that are building out the backend or infrastructure like logistics, payment or last-mile delivery.

“The last wave was for e-commerce. Now the winners will come from enablers or the facilitators of the ecosystem such as players from the payments and delivery sectors. This is because whoever [e-commerce venture] wins or loses, these companies are going to win as they are going to be servicing them.”

Nath said nearly 60-70 per cent of the investments from Fund I went into B2C or vertical e-commerce companies while 30 per cent was into small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the deep technology space. Though the firm does not have predefined classification for fund allocation, Nath said nearly 40-50 per cent of Fund II will go into B2C, 40 per cent will be invested in enabled tech such as fin-tech, ed-tech or med-tech startups, and the remaining will go to SMBs.

Talking about the funding slowdown, Nath said the Indian startup ecosystem is still not mature and a mid-market correction is healthy as it forces companies to build value.

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