Yatra plans to use the funds from Temasek-backed InnoVen Capital to meet growth and diversification needs and to add service offerings
Mumbai: InnoVen Capital, backed by Singapore’s Temasek, has provided Rs100 crore ($15.4 million) to Nasdaq-listed online travel company Yatra in India’s largest venture debt transaction yet, a senior executive at the investment company said.
This is InnoVen’s second funding to Yatra. The venture debt provider had previously extended $4 million to Yatra in 2013.
“After having raised $92 million through our Nasdaq listing in December 2016, this debt funding provides us additional capital for our growth needs,” said Alok Vaish, chief financial officer, Yatra.
Yatra plans to use the funds to meet growth and diversification needs and to add service offerings.
“This financing round by InnoVen Capital is the largest venture debt funding provided to any Indian business and also the largest venture debt deal funded by any venture debt firm in India,” said Chin Chao, interim chief executive, InnoVen Capital India and chief executive of InnoVen Capital South East Asia.
For InnoVen itself, the Yatra transaction is a significant divergence from its usual early-stage bets, which typically tend be of small ticket sizes.
According to Chao, the transaction represents an evolution of the venture debt ecosystem in the country and that of InnoVen Capital.
“In the past, we have generally done $1-2 million type of loans, which we continue to do. What has happened is that a lot of portfolio companies that we lent to in the past have gotten bigger. And we are seeing that venture debt requirement is not just at early-stage companies. We are seeing larger companies come to us for financing,” said Chao.
“Larger ticket sizes is one of the areas where we think we are able to better leverage our platform and we will continue to look at this opportunity going ahead,” he said.
“As we get more familiar with the company, the business and the team, we are able to do more. We are looking at select opportunities with other companies as well,” Chao said, adding that once the companies it previously funded grow in size, the fund too has to adapt to support them better.
On the larger end of the deal spectrum, InnoVen is looking at average ticket sizes of around $10 million.
The Indian venture debt market has grown in size and seen new sources of capital emerge.
“The venture capital market is a proxy for the venture debt market. If you look at US, the amount of venture debt deployed is usually 10% of the venture capital deployed. In India, 7-8 years ago, it was probably less than 1% of venture capital deployed and now we are at around 5%,” said Chao.
The market is growing and the growth has attracted a lot of other funds and non-banking finance companies, said Chao.
“The competition is increasing, AIF (alternative investment funds) structures are coming into play, other NBFCs (non-banking financial companies) too are entering the space and some of the banks too are looking at it. However, the overall pie is growing and we believe that the market is big enough,” he added.
InnoVen Capital entered India in 2008 as the first dedicated venture debt provider in the country. The firm was then part of US-based Silicon Valley Bank. In January 2015, Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek acquired the Indian venture debt business of Silicon Valley Bank for around Rs280 crore.
The platform, now present across India, China and South-East Asia, offers multiple debt capital solutions, including venture debt, acquisition finance, growth loans, and syndication.
Till date, it has provided over 165 loans to more than 120 start-ups across various stages and geographies, including Oyo Rooms, Swiggy, Pepperfry, Shopclues, Byju’s, Freecharge, Myntra, Firstcry, Capillary and Practo in India and 123RF, RedDoorz, M17 Entertainment and Oway in South-East Asia.