SAN FRANCISCO Oct 24 One of Silicon Valley's
most established venture funds is seeking to ferret out startup
talent in India at the very earliest stages by investing in
AngelPrime, a Bangalore-based incubator program to foster young
The Mayfield Fund said it would take a majority investment
in AngelPrime, bringing its India investment expertise to
younger companies, and more technology companies, than in the
past. It did not disclose the exact amount, but said the overall
fund run by AngelPrime would total less than $10 million.
With the investment, Mayfield can foster early-stage
technology in India, while keeping an eye on the start-up scene
there, said managing director Navin Chaddha.
The fund will also be able to work with entrepreneurs it
knows well. AngelPrime's founding partners are Bala
Parthasarathy, Shripati Acharya and Sanjay Swamy, three of the
co-founders of online photo company Snapfish, a former Mayfield
portfolio company bought by Hewlett Packard in 2005.
The partners will act as co-founders in the companies they
support, Chaddha said, and will take larger stakes than most
incubators, though he did not say how large. In the United
States incubators generally take stakes ranging from about 6
percent to 10 percent.
AngelPrime provides seed capital in the $200,000-$600,000
range to about three companies a year and aims to nurture them
for about 12-18 months. By contrast, the well-known U.S.
incubator Y Combinator invests about $18,000 per company, and
its program runs three months. Its last class numbered more than
Many venture firms are establishing relationships with U.S.
incubators. Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst, for
example, are among those offering each Y Combinator company a
total of $150,000 in convertible debt via the Start Fund.
"From a strategic perspective, it is a similar thing to what
Andreessen Horowitz has done," said Chaddha, comparing the
benefits of Mayfield's AngelPrime investment with Andreessen's
relationship with Y Combinator.
India has long held promise for venture capitalists, with
many comparing it to China in the 1990s when it comes to new
companies. It has a few incubators, but none has yet achieved
the type of traction programs such as Y Combinator have in the
Mayfield currently invests in India through a dedicated $111
million fund for companies that are already generating revenue.
In July, it announced Mayfield XIV, a $365 million U.S.-focused