Upekkha Secures $15 Million in First Close of $40 Million SaaS Accelerator VC Fund

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In an era where technology reigns supreme, investments in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startups have become important for supporting innovation and driving economic growth. Recognizing the pivotal role that is played by early-stage SaaS ventures in addressing the needs of multiple industries, Upekkha has secured $15 million in the first close of its $40 million fund led by prominent private equity firm WestBridge Capital. Other notable limited partners present in the first close were Godard Abel, CEO of G2.com, the largest B2B SaaS marketplace.

Sumir Chadha, Co-founder & Managing Partner at WestBridge Capital said, “Prior to Upekkha, India did not have a robust ecosystem and platform that assisted early-stage SaaS entrepreneurs in building strong successful businesses. We continue to see Upekkha as a key partner bridging that gap and enabling founders to build global SaaS business from India.”

Upekkha Core Team
Upekkha’s Core Team

Upekkha’s mission is to make a significant impact in 2024 as it plans to back more than 70 early-stage startups, focusing on unit economics and capital efficiency at a time when investors are cautiously scrutinizing startups before coming onboard. The accelerator has positioned itself as a key player in providing pre-seed funding, SaaS-specific coaching, and community access to startups, offering a robust support system for emerging entrepreneurs.

Prasanna Krishnamoorthy, managing partner at Upekkha, added that Indian SaaS start-ups powered by AI will grow fast and, as a result, attract greater investment. “At Upekkha, we find great founders and help them reach their potential. The investment from WestBridge shows their confidence in India SaaS and gives us more dry power to be the leading accelerator and SaaS fund for early-stage startups building from India to win globally,” he claimed.

Upekkha’s Unique Approach to Early-Stage Investment

Upekkha, currently on its 13th cohort, has firmly established itself as the go-to fund and accelerator for early-stage SaaS startups in India. Founded and led by Prasanna Krishnamoorthy, Shekar Nair, Thiyagarajan Maruthavanan, and Gokul KS, Upekkha is more than just a financial supporter. The accelerator differentiates itself by offering SaaS founders not only vital pre-seed funding but also strategic coaching tailored to the intricacies of the SaaS industry.

Team at Upekkha
Team at Upekkha

The venture fund plays a crucial role in addressing the challenges faced by early-stage startups in India’s dynamic business environment. By focusing on unit economics and capital efficiency, Upekkha aims to identify and mentor top SaaS startups, enabling them to navigate global challenges successfully.

Nitthin Chandran, CEO of Medpiper said that they joined Upekkha due to their SaaS focus. “We are very happy with the support we got. I’d rate Upekkha along with YC regarding the quality of partners, founder peers, and support systems they’ve created for founders in their program.”

At Upekkha
At Upekkha

Upekkha’s funding and support for over 165 startups consisting of more than 300 SaaS founders has positioned it as a key player in pushing India’s startup ecosystem forward. The accelerator’s strategic approach along with the financial backing from WestBridge Capital and other limited partners has solidified its commitment to support the next generation of SaaS startups.

Pioneering Investment in India: WestBridge Capital

WestBridge Capital, with its experience of around 22 years is one of the first and largest investors in the country. The investment philosophy of WestBridge Capital centres around the belief that purpose-driven entrepreneurs play a crucial role in fostering sustainable economic growth. The WestBrdige Capital was founded by Sumir Chadha, KP Balaraj, Sandeep Singhal, and Surendra K Jain.

“The next 20 years are going to be the best years in the history of India. This happens in a country only once and we’re very aware of that. We want to seize that moment.“Sandeep Singhal, co-founder and Managing Partner at WestBridge Capital

At WestBridge Capital
At WestBridge Capital

The firm understands the power these entrepreneurs hold in effecting positive changes, not only in the business landscape but also in the lives of individuals, creating a lasting impact for generations to come. With a focus on technology-enabled and tech-led businesses, WestBridge Capital plans to support services that change lives for the better of middle and low-income Indians.

“Culture-wise, we’re hard working, like our entrepreneurs. The harder you work, the luckier you get. We have a flexible, rapidly moving team structure, so when we see an opportunity we can move quickly. It’s fun. It never feels like work.“ Said Sumir Chadha, a co-founder and Managing Partner of WestBridge Capital

The Minds behind WestBridge

The journey of WestBridge Capital when Chadha and KP’s met each other during their time at Harvard Business School (HBS), where they were classmates in the Class of 1997. Following their HBS years, both Chadha and KP found themselves at Goldman Sachs, but in different divisions. Chadha contributed to the venture group in the US, while KP worked in the private equity group, spending his time between Hong Kong and New York.

WestBridge Capital Partners which was formed in 2000 is an entrepreneurial venture of Chadha, KP, and Raj Dugar, the latter eventually departing from the firm. The trio who had experiences at many notable companies dreamed of establishing a US-India venture capital firm with offices in Bangalore and Silicon Valley. Remarkably, they secured their first fund of $140 million in just three months, attracting investments even from Goldman Sachs.

The founding duo expanded their vision for WestBridge Capital by welcoming aboard Sandeep Singhal and Surendra K. Jain. Singhal, an alumnus of IIT Delhi and a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, brought a wealth of experience, having previously worked at The Boston Consulting Group. On the other hand, Jain, a gold medalist from IIM Ahmedabad, had a rich background that included co-founding MeraNet and contributing to pioneering projects at Intel and Motorola before becoming an integral part of the WestBridge team.

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