Sequoia Capital India unveils fifth group of startups for Surge

Sequoia Capital India has selected 23 early-stage startups for its fifth cohort of Surge, its acceleration program for India and Southeast Asia, at a time when dealflow activity is at its peak in the region

The new cohort, Surge’s largest to date, has collectively raised $ 55 million, the reputable investment firm said on Wednesday. The cohort also includes 10 female founders, another record for the acceleration program that began its journey in March 2019.

The Surge program has allowed Sequoia Capital India – which has always supported start-ups but historically focused more on reducing checks for Series A and beyond – more aggressively identifying promising startups as they are too young and increase the likelihood of expanding one’s portfolio with more winners, industry investors said.

And those odds have improved a lot in recent months. As Tiger Global and Falcon Edge begin to seek startup deals in India, the two companies have supported several Surge startups.

Sequoia India said that nearly 50% of startups in the first three cohorts have grown to increase their Series A funding rounds.

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The Surge program, for which Sequoia India raised an additional $ 195 million earlier this year, is now “tried, tested and proven to support founders through strategic mentorship from some of the world’s top startups and business minds, a hands-on business start-up support and a community of founder-to-founder support, ”said the investment firm, which employs more than 30 people in advisory roles in the region.

Some investors have also told Sequoia India, which offers very aggressive terms and a plethora of resources (App Annie subscription, for example) to Surge startups, that the accelerator program has diminished the importance of Y Combinator in India. (Rajan Anandan, who runs Surge, told me earlier this year that he doesn’t view Y Combinator and Surge as rivals.)

The new cohort, which TechCrunch selected several names for earlier this month, includes 13 startups that are building services across fintech, payments, communications, logistics and SaaS, Surge said.

“We are incredibly proud of the 23 companies who joined Surge 05 and the founders who forged their businesses in industries that have seen huge tailwinds. These leaders have shown courage, exceptional talent and relentless purpose in shaping the world, ”said Anandan, who, prior to joining Sequoia Capital India as Managing Director, headed Google’s business in India and in Southeast Asia.

“At this inflection point in global growth, we are excited to be part of the journey of our founders and their companies, many of whom we believe will grow into great, sustainable companies,” he added.


The new cohort includes the following startups as well as one that operates in stealth mode.

  • Absolute builds an adaptive plant bioscience and AI platform for precision agriculture that helps horticulturalists radically transform product yields, quality and nutritional value. The startup also received an investment from Lets Venture.
  • ADPL list tries to ‘democratize’ mentoring and make it accessible to everyone through a community platform where people can find, book and meet mentors from around the world.
  • ApnaKlub is an agent-driven business-to-business wholesale platform for Fast Turning Consumer Goods (FMCG). The startup aims to encourage and empower people to create their own hyper-local micro-distribution businesses by providing them with better profit margins, access to a wide assortment of brands and SKUs, and consistency of supply.
  • Belora produces clean, high-performance vegan makeup without toxins or harmful ingredients. The startup, which also got an investment from DSG Consumer Partners, says it wants to create makeup that doubles as skincare, so women can wear products that are not only dermatologically tested but also good for their skin.
  • Durianpay builds an integrated and comprehensive payments stack that enables businesses to grow and scale.
  • Dyte is a developer-friendly real-time audio and video calling software development kit (SDK). The startup, which has also secured investments from Nexus Venture Partners and Y Combinator, is enabling developers to integrate live video into their applications in interesting and innovative ways. The SDK is simple, offers integrations within hours, and has a large number of plugins and configurations. These setups provide developers with a fast and efficient way to integrate audio and video calling, AI video augmentation, and collaboration features.
  • schooner provides a next-generation media delivery infrastructure that provides low-code or no-code integration plug-ins that automate the entire media publishing pipeline. Developers around the world use Gumlet to automatically deliver the smallest size images and videos with the best resolution and performance.
  • Locate makes multi-channel e-commerce execution easier than ever by offering a distributed warehousing network, reducing shipping time and costs by storing products closer to customers. The startup has also secured investments from Antler and others.
  • Mailmodo is an email marketing platform that helps marketers create app-like experiences in email and increase conversions.
  • Mesh is a next-generation people management platform that makes it easy for employees to manage their goals, get timely feedback, and grow faster. The Y Combinator Continuity fund and RTP Global have also invested in Mesh.
  • Multiplier is a benchmark employer of the new age that simplifies international hiring. Its investors include Golden Gate Ventures, MS&AD Ventures, Picus Capital.
  • A code is an app that connects businesses with sales agents, giving them access to sell products and services to less tech-savvy buyers. The startup’s mission is to digitize 50 million sales agents across India and bridge the gap between brands and potential buyers who may need face-to-face interactions and physical touchpoints before they s ‘engage in a purchase. Nexus Venture Partners and WaterBridge Ventures have also invested in the startup.
  • Power play is a vernacular, mobile construction site management app that enables project managers and workers to communicate and collaborate more effectively. The startup, also backed by Accel, helps them track their progress, deliverables, and payments across projects.
  • Pankhuri is a social community platform where women can network, learn and shop online through live streaming, chat, and micro-courses.
  • RaRa delivery tries to reinvent instant delivery for e-commerce in Indonesia through data-driven logistics. It also has 500 Startups among its investors.
  • Reverie uses playful thinking to revolutionize wellness, and the team’s mission is to make wellness affordable and accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. The startup also obtained funds from GGV Capital and Pascal Capital.
  • TWID (this is what I do) is a rewards-based payment network that allows reward or customer loyalty points to be used as a payment instrument. (Beenext is a co-investor.)
  • Vah Vah! is an online and live professional training platform that offers professional beauty classes.
  • Vara is an easy-to-use and lightweight people management platform for SMEs in Southeast Asia. It allows small businesses to effortlessly manage their presence and payroll. The startup counts RTP Global and a number of other companies among its investors.
  • Veera Health mission is to help women lead healthier lives. Veera’s first offering is a digital therapy platform that helps women identify and navigate polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), with a comprehensive offering of therapy, coaching and specialist support. Global Founders Capital, Harvard University and Y Combinator also supported Veera.
  • Virtual internships are rethinking internships for the 21st century workforce, reflecting the future of work.
  • WATI helps businesses have personalized conversations with customers at scale with easy-to-use customer engagement software based on WhatApp’s Business API.

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