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Two principals quit SAIF Partners to start early-stage fund

Rohit Jain and Mukul Singhal

Rohit Jain and Mukul Singhal

Mukul Singhal and Rohit Jain, principals at venture capital firm SAIF Partners, have put in their papers to set up an early-stage fund.

Singhal, based in New Delhi, and Bangalore-based Jain lead early-stage investments at SAIF. The duo have worked on about a dozen deals including in companies such as ed-tech firm Toppr, household services firm UrbanClap and baby products portal Firstcry.com.

Calls to Singhal and Jain went unanswered by the time of writing this article.

Singhal joined the VC firm in 2010 after quitting Canaan Partners. He holds a B.Tech from IIT Kanpur and received his MBA from the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. At SAIF, he has worked on portfolio companies in the education, internet, mobile and consumer segments.

Jain joined the VC firm in 2013. He is an IIT Delhi graduate and has a postgraduate degree from the University of North Carolina. Prior to joining SAIF, he had worked with Microsoft, IBM Research and Google. At SAIF, he focused on education, internet and mobile segments and also worked on financial services companies like Coverfox.

The two executives are transitioning their board seats at SAIF to other executives and will leave the firm by the end of this month, according to The Economic Times, which firstreported the development.

The exit comes at a time when seed-stage and early-stage investments have powered overall deal volume. According to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle, angel and VC investors have sealed as many as 1,096 deals so far in 2015, up 68 per cent from last year, a record jump and also the highest early-stage investment in India. Of these, angel and seed investors funded 632 deals while VC investors backed the remaining.

The trend of going independent is growing for private equity and venture capital executives. Last month, three of six partners at Helion Ventures quit the firm to most likely set up their own fund. In 2014, home-grown fund ChrysCapital’s managing director Gulpreet Kohli quit to launch Mylen Investment. The firm has raised $100 million.

Also, Sateesh Andra, former managing partner at Ventureast, has floated Endiya Partners, which hit the first close of $30 million recently.

SAIF Partners raised $350 million last year. The fifth fund made its first close in December 2014 and the money was raised from 27 investors.

SAIF Partners’ portfolio includes BookMyShow, BlueStar, HomeShop18.com, Havells, JustDial, TV9, NSE, Karur Vysya Bank, MindTree, MakeMyTrip.com and Edelweiss. Some of its multi-bagger exits include MakeMyTrip, which listed on NASDAQ a few years ago, and part-exit in Just Dial with about 30x in returns.

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