Naspers, South African internet and media giant, will continue to invest a significant amount of funds to Indian ventures operating across food delivery, classifieds and fintech in COVID-19 crisis. From a capital allocation standpoint, India is an important market for Naspers. It has made several investments in India, including in food delivery firm Swiggy and ed-tech company Byju’s. This year, Naspers also backed social commerce company Meesho, leading a $125 million round.
“If you look backwards, we have spent about $2 billion over the years, and that’s a big part of our overall investments…Historically, we have spent a good chunk of our investment money into the Indian market, “The return could be much higher or lower…It’s been about 20% over the last 10 years, but much higher over the last few years”, he further added.
In recent times, Asia’s third-largest economy, India has emerged as a profitable market for the global tech investor in which it had invested around $2 billion till date.
Naspers CEO Bob Van Dijk, was speaking to reporters during the three-day annual summit that is being held in Delhi. The event has witnessed the gathering of the company’s top leadership, including along with a significant representation of its portfolio globally.
“We earned spectacular returns from Flipkart, a company that started from nothing in this country, by a group of Indian founders, and that’s what we do. 32% annual returns are no shame. Stock markets give you 6%-7%. I’m happy with that,” he said.
Naspers will back considerable Indian companies and have zeroed down its existing portfolio list that includes, food delivery company Swiggy, fin-tech venture PayU India, classifieds company OLX and India’s largest online travel operator, MakeMyTrip.
Naspers has also affected many alliances in the Indian internet market, both in online travel and payments domain. In 2013, it acquired bus booking platform redBus which it merged with Ibibo, an online travel firm is founded in 2007. It went on to become the second-largest player. In 2016, Naspers merged Ibibo with market leader MakeMyTrip to become its largest shareholder.
Addressing the investment in the times of COVID-19, Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said,
“People are forced to be at home in many instances at the moment, and online education platforms are dong very well due to coronavirus outbreak. There is a lot of activity going on, and we are seeing initial opportunities. You could see us grab some of them, but we will continue to be diligent to make sure we catch the right ones.”
Bob van Dijk said that the tech-focused venture capital fund will continue to double its investments in India’s tech startup ecosystem in future. Naspers will particularly focus on new-age credit and financial products. Naspers mentioned that it will continue to support entrepreneurs with original ideas as opposed to existing business models in the financial services market.