Japanese investors to take venture capital pitches online from Indian startups

18, May. 2020

Photo by Sithamshu Manoj on Unsplash
Photo by Sithamshu Manoj on Unsplash

By Atul Ranjan

NEW DELHI, NNA – Business leaders will hold a series of online sessions from later this month to let Japanese investors take pitches from Indian startups in need of venture capital.

India’s information technology lobby group Nasscom, in partnership with the Indian Embassy in Tokyo and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), will take the pitches online for the first time this year to minimize human contact during the coronavirus pandemic. A live pitch event slated for March had been postponed because of the outbreak.

From May 28, Nasscom will hold “periodic webinar sessions” each covering five to seven Indian startups, Gagan Sabharwal, senior director of global trade development at Nasscom, told NNA in a phone interview last Friday.

“These e-pitching sessions will facilitate promising start-ups to show their solutions through video conferencing and enable Japanese institutions to craft a portfolio of innovative Indian businesses amid the physical distancing restrictions,” he said.

Sectors such as travel, leisure and retail have been hit hard by the disease outbreak globally, Gagan said.

But venture capital firms have renewed their interest in sectors such as healthcare, telemedicine, delivery services and online education. Firms in those sectors, as well as cloud-based infrastructure companies and teleworking service providers, are uniquely positioned to help people stuck at home due to shutdowns.

In 2019, the Japanese Venture Capital Network brought together 26 technology startups from India. Their founders traveled to Tokyo to make pitches in front of more than 125 Japanese investors and five have already raised funds.

Last year, Nasscom, in partnership with the Indian Embassy in Tokyo, had announced the creation of Japanese Venture Capital Network to help local startups raise funds, mostly in the range of $2 to $10 million, from a group of Japanese investors interested in Indian tech startups, especially those focusing on solving issues faced in domestic market.