Representative AI Image (Credit: Lexica)

MUMBAI: US-based venture capital (VC) investor General Catalyst has acquired local investment firm Venture Highway as it looks to capitalise on the growing India opportunity and broaden its bet on the region with investments worth $500 million-$1 billion lined up for the market in the coming years.
“India’s economic, political and strategic agency in the world is growing….with India’s agency increasing and shifting geo-political background, the need for an extremely strong and deep Indo-US collaboration becomes imperative today,” the Silicon Valley based firm which has backed Indian startups like Cred and Spinny said in a statement.Venture Highway with expertise in seed-stage investing and a localised presence has better understanding of the India market as well as access to local talent; this is what General Catalyst is looking to tap into through this acquisition.
Co-founded by Neeraj Arora, former chief business officer of WhatsApp in 2014, Venture Highway has been early backers of unicorns like Meesho and Moglix. The firm will now lead General Catalyst’s initiatives in India which has the third largest startup ecosystem globally after the US and China. “General Catalyst and Venture Highway aim to combine global networks and capital with deep India localisation to reimagine venture investing to suit India’s unique opportunities and challenges,” the firm said.
Of late, several VC as well as PE (private equity investors) have raised new funds with a significant allocation earmarked for the India market where a large consumer base and rising disposable incomes present opportunities for startups to build and innovate. Startup funding which has been tepid in line with a global tech slowdown is picking up pace with quite a few late-stage deals in the pipeline.
In an interview with TOI last year, General Catalyst’s CEO and managing director Hemant Taneja had said that a lot of new Indian businesses are expected to enter and scale up in areas like agriculture, climate, healthcare and semiconductors over the next five to ten years, helped by the country’s tech stack. “A lot of work that has been done around Aadhar, UPI, sets us up well for innovation. It’s a phenomenal opportunity for India in the next 15 years,” Taneja had said.