“We are interested in India-only services, as well as startups which want to go abroad. We can help with global expansions in Southeast Asia, Japan, US and China, because of our presence there,“ said Hiro Mashita, founder and director of M&S Partners on a visit to Bengaluru last week. The Singapore-based company, which started looking at the Indian market only this year, is closing four deals in the next couple of months.
Amid a domestic economic slow down over the past decade, Japanese funds have increasingly turned to capitalize on the booming Southeast Asian market, many running venture firms out of Singapore. Having witnessed explosive growth in China over the past few years, they are now eager to reap benefits of a similar growth trend projected for India.
“The Japanese have a very small consumer market. Hence, they have consumer market. Hence, they have always looked at emerging markets, China being one of them,“ said Vikram Upadhyaya, chief mentor at Greenhouse Ventures, which works regularly with Japanese investors scouting for opportunities here. “And India, with its booming economy in the current Modi regime, seems like the next logical step.“
Many of these newer entrants are seed or early-stage funds, invariably interested only in one broad sector -mobile internet. Beenos founder Teru Sato expects India to be the “the new big-bang in the internet and mobile sectors“, and that more vertical players will emerge in areas like marketplaces and classifieds, among others.While Beenos has invested in Shopclues and Citrus Pay , Sato has personally backed early stage startups like Lookup and Daily Rounds, and expects to do more investments in India.
(With inputs from Madhav Chanchani in Mumbai)