500 Startups Announces 500 Kulfi: $25M India Fund

Pankaj Jain

February 23, 2016

Namaskar! We’re excited to announce our latest regional fund focused on India including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 500 Kulfi will be a $25M fund focusing on early stage companies with product-market fit and demonstrated traction. Although we’re sector-agnostic, we will take a closer look at FinTech, EdTech, Health & Wellness, Data Analytics, Content and SaaS/SMB.

Why is India important to invest in?

As Walter Thompson (500 Startups Journalist-in-Residence) recently noted, private equity investment activity in India was up 67% from 2014 to $21 billion. GDP is expected to grow at 7.6% this year, faster than any other large global economy. India has the second largest Internet population in the world after China, more than 300 million users. The number of smartphones in use in India is set to reach over 700 million by 2020. The median age in India is 27.3 years old.

All this means that India is looking as sweet as Kulfi!

We’ve have a very large and young population, with more disposable income available and that amount is growing faster than anywhere else and global investors are taking notice and pouring money into Indian startups.

While the industry has been tweeting and blogging about doom and gloom hitting unicorns and startups alike, we believe the long-term opportunity remains as solid as ever. We see market changes as part of a natural cycle. While some good companies may have a harder time raising money this year, others will find it easier to get great talent. Some consolidation and stepping back from irrational exuberance is a good thing. In an environment like this, the Warren Buffett investor will thrive because they look for value. We hope to continue to find value in many verticals across India.

500 Startups has invested in over 50 companies in India since 2011 including amazing startups like ZipDial, SourceEasy, Instamojo, CultureAlley, SilverPush, KartRocket, and Headout. Last year we did over 20 deals in India. However, we don’t think that’s enough. We’re thrilled to announce our plans to do more in India; much, much more.

Get in touch with Pankaj at pankaj@500.co

About Pankaj Jain:


Pankaj Jain is a Partner at 500 Startups and runs the 500 India Fund “500 Kulfi”. While at 500 Startups, he has led investments in over 50 companies across 6 countries.

Prior to joining 500 Startups, he spent over 12 years in the financial industry at firms including JPMorgan, Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) and GlobeOp Financial Services. Pankaj formerly founded 2 companies including an on-demand, employment marketplace and the HeadStart Network Foundation. He also spent time at TLabs, an Indian accelerator, where he helped source, select and invest in startups.

Pankaj would like to sincerely apologize for his role in bringing down the global financial system while working at LTCM in 1998… his comment on the incident “oops, my bad” serves as a reminder to all of us that no one is too big to fail.

Pankaj received his BS from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He sometimes blogs at http://blog.pjain.me and can be found on Twitter at @pjain

Artwork by Yiying Lu

Kulfi image by Kings Kulfi, Gurgaon

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