US startups land on Indian shores to raise funds

Posted on May 20, 2016 by K4 Bangalore
Originally Published on VC Circle

In a trend that might seem counterintuitive, several US-based startups are flying down to India to raise funds. For now, though, the only investor shop they are landing at is US-based cross-border Angel network Keiretsu Forum’s Chennai and Bangalore chapters.

In the last 16 months, around seven US-based startups from diverse sectors such as analytics, video
streaming, health-tech and fin-tech have raised seed investments from a group of angel investors with
Keiretsu Chennai.

The forum has a new pitch scheduled for Silicon Valley startup digital gift card
provider Bouxtie Inc in the first week of June while Seattle-based Monitor Mask Inc, which makes
sedation masks, raised seed investment from investors of the Chennai chapter of Keiretsu last month.
Interestingly, the aforesaid seven investments comprise 58% of the total 12 investments made by the
Chennai chapter of the forum in the past 16 months.

“We are looking to host pitch session for at least one US startup every month,” said Denny Kurien,
president, Keiretsu Forum, Bangalore.

Such is the seriousness with which the startups are exploring the India option that several of them fly
down to Bangalore or Chennai to make their pitches, while others make their presentations through
platforms such as Skype.

Keiretsu Forum, an invitation-only platform, is the largest cross-border Angel network with 40 chapters
and 2000 members across the globe. Its first Indian Chapter in Chennai made an impressive start in
2015 by closing 11 deals in the first year.

The investments made by the forum so far have ranged from $25,000 to $200,000 (Rs 17 lakh to Rs 1.34
crore). “The average investment they receive from our member investors are much less than what they
can raise from our chapters abroad,” said Rajan Srikanth, co-president, Keiretsu Forum Chennai. He,
however, said that there are reasons for why these companies come to India to raise funds. “They come
to India for two reasons. One, they see India as a potential market in the short or medium term. In other
cases, they have some India connect such as having a development centre here or may be a founder
who is Indian,” he said.

The other US-based companies to have raised funds from the angel network include rooftop solar
system provider YouSolar Inc; IoT-based video streaming technology provider Viakoo Inc; small medical
practices-focused business analytics company WhiteSpace Health Inc; provider of technology tool for
senior care professionals iHealthHome LLC; no-fog goggles maker Abom Inc and financial services
sector-focused enterprise IT company Zenyx Inc.

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