ET Startup Awards 2021: Sanjeev Bikhchandani wins the Midas Touch award for best investor
The ETSA jury pretty much unanimously picked the
Bikhchandani is an example to follow for the ecosystem, the high-powered jury said.
“Sanjeev has been around since the first tech boom and has been an inspiration to all of us,” said jury member Sachin Bansal, Flipkart’s cofounder and founder of Navi Technologies. “Now he’s inspiring us as an investor as well. His knack for picking companies to invest in, helping them and seeing them through the entire journey till they go public is what is exemplary.”
Bikhchandani, a Padma Shri awardee, took an early bet on
when it was Foodiebay and wrote the first four cheques for the startup. Since then, he stayed committed to the company and eventually
played a critical role in Zomato’s IPO in July this year. His first cheque to the foodtech startup was for Rs 4.7 crore in 2010. Today, the value of Info Edge’s shares in Zomato is worth Rs 16,327 crore (at Friday’s closing price of Rs 136.65 per share on the BSE). The company holds 15.23% in Zomato.
The year 2021 will be a standout one for Bikhchandani who founded Info Edge in 1995. After Zomato’s IPO, PolicyBazaar—another of his early bets—has also
filed for a Rs 6,017-crore IPO. According to ET’s estimates, the fair market value of Info Edge’s current shareholding in the insurtech startup is between Rs 5,200 crore and Rs 6,200 crore (assuming IPO valuation range of $5-6 billion). For Info Edge, cost of acquisition of those shares were around Rs 576 crore, ET has learnt.
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Bikhchandani said that while it was a great honour to be adjudged the winner, the credit goes to the investment team of Info Edge and mostly to Zomato. “Though I’m the face of Info Edge, the truth is it’s the investment team, the other directors that have enabled us to stay on as investors… It’s a joint effort and most of the credit goes to the Zomato team,” he said.
Info Edge is a pure-play internet company that runs sites like Naukri and Jeevansathi.
Bikhchandani noted that other nominees in the segment were impressive and highlighted
the recent IPO success of SaaS startup Freshworks, which is being seen as a seminal moment for the ecosystem as well.
Shekhar Kirani, partner at Accel, was the first investor in Freshworks and has been a big part in the company’s journey. Kirani was shortlisted for the Midas Touch award but Accel, as a policy, recused themselves from participating in this category this year.
Listing is good. Ask Info Edge
Lunia is an active early-stage investor backing startups at the seed stage across sectors. Among his prominent bets is ShareChat which took its first few steps from India Quotient’s Mumbai office. Lunia’s fourth fund is expected to close at $80-$100 million.
Reddy, who cofounded Blume in 2010, is one of the most active early-stage investors across sectors like ecommerce, edtech, retail and fintech. Besides his current prominent bets, he has had exits from TaxiForSure (acquired by Ola in 2015) and Runnr (acquired by Zomato in 2017).
Arora, an IIM Lucknow alumnus, is focused on consumer tech startups and has cut first cheques for some of the biggest startups in India, including Swiggy and Unacademy. Besides his core focus area, he has also been evaluating SaaS startups in the past year.
Vaidyanathan, a former McKinsey consultant, counts four unicorns in his 30-strong portfolio that has companies across sectors like fintech, SaaS, edtech, B2B and others. His early focus on financial services has paid off in terms of spotting promising startups in the fintech and financial services sector.