Fund News


Google Capital goes overseas, will set up shop in India

Google Capital is a year-old late stage fund that has invested in Lending Club and CommonFloor

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
February 18, 2015
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Google Capital is going international!

The late-stage fund, which was first announced almost exactly one year ago today, is set to open its first office outside the United States, according to a report out from the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. The country it has chosen: India.

Beyond that, details are sketchy right now. There is no time frame for opening the office, it is unknown which city it will be based in, nor did the firm disclose how much funding will be available for investing in startups in the country. One thing it did say: that any sectors will be available for investment.

“It makes a lot of sense to focus on India right now,” Google Capital partner David Lawee told The Wall Street Journal, citing the huge number of Internet users. The 1.2 billion users is now larger than those in the United States.

While this is the first time that Google Capital will be opening shop internationally, the firm has already been looking at Asia for investment opportunities. It put an undisclosed amount of funding into Indian online real estate platform CommonFloor in January; and it led a $38 million round in InnoLight Technology Corporation, a Chinese company making cloud computing optical transceivers.

In its short life, Google Capital has made some very high profile investments, investing in companies that include GlassdoorCredit Karma, Lending Club, Freshdesk and Thumbtack.

This is not the first time that Google has set up an investing arm overseas; in July of last year it set up a European arm, based in London, for Google Ventures, its early stage fund.

VatorNews has reached out to Google for confirmation of this report. We will update if we learn more.

Activity in India

In just the last year or so there has been a flurry of investment activity in India.

India became Uber's biggest non-U.S. market. It was also the year that Facebook hit the 100 million user mark in the country, giving it the second largest base of Facebook users in the world.

2014 ended with News Corp. purchasing financial planning service and its parent company, FinDirect Services Pvt Ltd. The acquisition followed News Corp's first investment in India as well; in August it participated in a $37 million round for PropTiger, an online real estate marketing platform in India. In all, News Corp. acquired a 25% stake in the company.

But mostly 2014 was all about India e-commerce, with huge investments and funding in that space coming from U.S. firms.

Two companies in particular raised funding in the billions of dollars: Flipkart, which is also the largest e-commerce company in India, raised nearly $2 billion in three rounds. First it picked up a $210 million investment led by DST Global in May and then a whopping $1 billion round, led by Tiger Global and Naspers, in July. In December week it raised another $700 million.

Meanwhile, Snapdeal, which is one of Flipkart's biggest rivals, raised at least $860 million in four rounds in 2014. 

The first investment in the company was in a round led by eBay in February, in which it invested $133.7 million. The round also included Kalaari Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Intel Capital and Saama Capital. That was then followed by another $100 million from Temasek, BlackRock, Myriad, Premji Invest and Tybourne in May, and then an undisclosed personalinvestmentfrom Ratan Tata in August. The company then added another $627 million from Softbank in October.

Both of those companies will have to deal with Amazon, which announced in July that it was going to be investing $2 billion in its Indian operations. 

Most recently Twitter purchased Indian marketing and analytics platform ZipDial to expand its reach into the country as well. 

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