Betting big on the burgeoning Indian startup ecoystem, Microsoft's corporate venture fund, M12, Wednesday said it will invest in various startups in the country with a funding size of USD 2 million to USD 10 million. M12, formerly known as Microsoft Ventures, has chosen health-tech startup Innovaccer as its first investment in India. M12 Partner Rashmi Gopinath said the entity will invest in enterprise B2B startups, participating in series A to C rounds with cheque sizes ranging between USD 2-10 million. The company will lead these rounds or co-invest alongside strong local investors, she added. It focusses on areas like big data and analytics, business Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud infrastructure, machine learning and artificial intelligence, productivity and security. Talking about Innovaccer, Gopinath said the startup is working to solve data interoperability challenges in healthcare and helping health systems enhance their clinical and financial outcomes with a data-first approach.
Tech investment activity in India is at an all-time high. Venture capitals are estimated to have pumped in over USD 3.09 billion in business-to-business (B2B) startups in 2018 across 415 rounds, which is 28 per cent more than USD 2.41 billion invested in 2017, she said. Moreover, an increasing number of enterprise B2B startups are being founded in India that cater to a global customer base, most notably in artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, SaaS, data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT), she added. India also offers a unique competitive advantage as it is home to top technical talent, including deep-tech areas such as computer vision, robotics, blockchain and autonomous driving, she said.
"These factors position India favourably to support highly innovative startups that can effectively compete on a global scale," said Gopinath. India is a market rich with entrepreneurs creating world-class startups that are poised for success on a global scale, said Nagraj Kashyap, Global head of M12 and Corporate Vice-President at Microsoft. "In working with these innovative startups, we believe together we will help disrupt enterprises and industries ripe for digital transformation," he said. M12 includes experienced venture capitalists and Microsoft veterans with team members on the ground in North America, Europe and Israel. Globally, M12 has invested in over 70 startups in areas ranging from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to business SaaS and industrial drones.
(With inputs from agencies.)