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AngelList kicks off India operations with Bengaluru

AngelList has already taken its Syndicates platform outside of the US with outposts now in the UK, Canada, Australia, and some parts of Europe.

Updated: Jul 17, 2015, 11.02 AM IST
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AngelList has already taken its Syndicates platform outside of the US with outposts now in the UK, Canada, Australia, and some parts of Europe. 
AngelList has already taken its Syndicates platform outside of the US with outposts now in the UK, Canada, Australia, and some parts of Europe. 
(This story originally appeared in on Jul 17, 2015)
SAN FRANCISCO: AngelList, an online platform which allows startups to raise capital from accredited investors, is looking to set up shop in India at a time when early-stage funding is seeing heightened activity. Co-founded by Naval Ravikant, one of Silicon Valley's most influential angel investors and also a serial entrepreneur, AngelList has made traditional venture capitalists antsy by taking the fund-raising process online.

Dubbed as the disruptor of early-stage investing in the Valley, AngelList — which was set up in 2010 — has already taken its Syndicates platform outside of the US with outposts now in the UK, Canada, Australia, and some parts of Europe.

Ravikant told TOI that hiring for India is currently an exploratory move on the back of the success of AngelList Talent. "We want to hire our first person on the ground (in Bengaluru) to get some market intelligence and because AngelList Talent, which lets startups hire, is already very big in India," he said. It's not clear at present if AngelList will introduce Syndicates in India right away. In 2014, AngelList invested more than $100 million in over 240 startups.

Ravikant had said earlier this year in an interview to this paper that he was exploring the local regulations in India before setting up its presence in the country. "The tech ecosystem in India is growing quickly and India is a huge, English-speaking market. So we definitely want to be here, but it all depends on regulations," he had said then.

An Indian American, Ravikant is often called Silicon Valley's startup kingmaker having made angel investments in Uber and Twitter, among others, even as AngelList challenged the 'clubbiness' of the Sandhill Road VCs.

AngelList Syndicates allows any angel (the "lead angel") with a good track record who's investing in a company to bring in friends and other backers. The lead angel puts in some of their own money, discloses their diligence, the risks, and any conflicts of interest. AngelList collects the money from the backers, puts it all into a single fund, and invests that fund in the company behind the lead. The lead gets paid a percentage of the profits on the fund. "It's like a pop-up venture fund for a specific deal, with no management fee, an open investor base, and all-online tracking," that's how Ravikant explains the workings of AngelList.

In India, existing players in this space include the likes of LetsVenture and recently-launched Tracxn Syndicate, a part of startup data collector Tracxn. Besides these online platforms, traditional angel networks like India Angel Network and Mumbai Angels, among many others, have existed for years but are now losing relevance with a crop of new-age entrepreneurs turning angels, led by the likes of Sachin and Binny Bansal (not related) of Flipkart and Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal of Snapdeal.

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