Rajan Anandan. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

What Rajan Anandan Looks For While Backing Startups

Rajan Anandan bets on a founding team that’s solving “real problems”. The former Google India head recently joined venture fund Sequoia Capital to focus on investing in early-stage technology startups across Southeast Asia

“I have a simple thesis, to bet on a founding team that has tenacity and vision, and I’ve stuck to that thesis over the last 10-15 years,” Anandan told BloombergQuint on the sidelines of the eighth edition of India Internet Day organised by The IndUS Entrepreneurs.

Rajan has been among India’s most prolific startup investors and has funded Dunzo, Buttercups, Capillary Technologies and Druva, among others. So far, he has backed more than 50 ventures, according to startup data platform Crunchbase.

As the startup ecosystem expands he expects India to produce 10 unicorns this year and 100 by 2025.

In 2018, India got eight unicorns, including the likes of Oyo, Freshworks, Udaan, Zomato, among others—the most in a calendar year—whereas the corresponding figures for U.K. and Germany were four and two, respectively. The unicorn tally for U.S. and China were 25 and 20, respectively.

Also read: BigBasket, India’s Largest Online Grocer, Is Now A Unicorn

The emerging unicorns, Anandan said, will not be only in the consumer internet space.

“We already have two logistics firms inching closer to becoming unicorns—Rivigo and Blackbuck. Then we saw the first gaming unicorn with Dream 11,” he said. “Global B2B commerce, healthcare and robotics are the areas where we will have new unicorns coming up. It’s going to be broad sector based.”

Anandan is currently working on developing Surge—Sequoia’s founder-focused programme to scale up early-stage startups in India and Southeast Asia—as an investment adviser and mentor.

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