Having backed biotech IT businesses like Comprehend Systems and SV Bio in the U.S., high-profile venture firm Sequoia Capital has turned its attention to India. And with a $530 million fund to fuel its ambitions, the California-based VC shop could kick-start the tech and healthcare startup ecosystem in India and across Southeast Asia.
The new fund takes the amount Sequoia has raised for investing in the region up past $2 billion and positions it to benefit from the financial reforms the new Indian government is expected to implement. Details of which companies the fund will back are yet to emerge, but Sequoia has revealed its main areas of focus: technology, consumer and healthcare. Firms at various stages of development are on Sequoia's radar. "Sequoia Capital's investment size will range from a few hundred thousand dollars to $50 million," Sequoia's Indian head Abhay Pandey told The Times of India.
The list of target sectors is a slimmed-down version of the VC shop's overall focus, which also covers the financial and energy markets. Comprehend Systems and SV Bio sit alongside more than 20 other startups in Sequoia's healthcare portfolio, which could soon be swelled by the arrival of companies from India and Southeast Asia. India already has an ecosystem of startups focused on the intersection of technology--particularly Big Data--and life sciences.
In August, InterpretOmics raised $1.7 million to advance its genome analytics app, which the startup thinks can undercut U.S. rivals on cost by leveraging India's cheaper labor. Data integration and informatics firm Metaome is also taking on U.S. rivals, while Bizosys provides its HSearch to biopharma service provider PointCross. Given India's well-established IT workforce and comparatively low operational costs, each has an opportunity to repeat the success of the likes of HCL Technologies and Wipro ($WIT) which rose to global prominence in the 1990s.
Editor's note: The article was updated to clarify Bizosys doesn't work directly with pharma companies.