Incubate Fund India in 2021

Nao Murakami
5 min readJan 2, 2022

Happy New Year! Hope you have enjoyed a great holiday season with your loved ones. Thank you very much for everyone supported us and journeyed together with us in 2021 including LPs, co-investors, counsels, advisors, and, of course, entrepreneurs.

The year 2021 became one of the best years for the Indian startup ecosystem. 44 new Indian unicorns were minted only in this year. Many unicorn IPO were successfully done. Moreover, I feel every single people’s confidence level on Indian startup ecosystem was improved significantly this year.

People will remember 2021 as a turning-point of the Indian ecosystem. But, as always, this is just a beginning. We should keep working hard to make more great things come to the ecosystem. We, Incubate Fund India, will keep contributing to the healthy growth of Indian startup ecosystem by supporting category creating entrepreneurs from their day-1.

New portfolio startups in 2021

We have done 7 new investments and welcomed them to our portfolio community. Below are these companies.

Saveo: Saveo is a B2B marketplace for Indian pharmacies, providing a single procurement point for all medicines — generics, surgical, OTC, speciality, allopathy, and ayurvedic — bringing uniformity in margin and service, and helping Indian pharmacies digitise their businesses. Founding team are mix of very strong tech, operation, and growth background with deep industry understanding. Incubate Fund invested in the startup at its $4M seed round along with Matrix Partners, RTP Global, and India Quotient. Saveo has grown more than 7X in the last 10 months and will start raising series A round soon.

Akudo: Akudo is a learning-focused neobank for teenagers in India. Incubate Fund India invested in the startup at its pre-seed round (pre-product stage) along with Y Combinator. The startup raised $4M seed round led by JAFCO Asia and Tribe Capital only 2 months after the pre-seed round. Akudo acquired more than 500,000 users only within 6 months from its product launch and keep growing very fast.

SuperLearn: SuperLearn is an online after-school learning platform for children. Incubate Fund India led pre-seed round of the startup. SpuerLearn has been growing at MoM 70% for the last 4 months and will raise its seed round soon in 2022.

Tamasha: Tamasha is building the gaming metaverse, where creators can engage communities through live social games and instantly monetise their engagement. While game developers can utilise the creator ecosystem to develop and publish community-driven games for the masses. Incubate Fund India invested in its $3M pre-series A round along with Chiratae Ventures and others.

ConnectedH: ConnectedH is providing one stop tech solution for small diagnostics centers helping them focus on testing while taking care of all other aspects. The solution includes CRM, Online Reports, On-Demand Phlebotomists, online booking, and online reports. Incubate Fund invested in the startup at its $2.3M seed round along with Kalaari Capital.

Stealth 1: We recently invested in a premium products focused quick-commerce startup at pre-seed round (ideation stage). The startup just launched the service at a small area of Bangalore and has shown very promising initial traction. They are currently in stealth mode but we will announce the investment soon.

Stealth 2: We recently invested in a startup which connects factories and end consumer directly by utilizing the power of social commerce. They are focusing on fashion/cosmetics products and operating in tier 3-4 cities. We just closed the investment in December and will make an investment announcement soon.

Since we focused mainly on B2B and B2B2C startups in 2020, we decided to make more investments in B2C startups in 2021. As a result, 5 out of 7 new investments of the year were in consumer facing startups.

In 2022, we will keep sector agnostic and invest in “founders” of both B2B and B2C business. One big addition to our focus sector will be Web3 and Crypto (maybe same as many other VCs) and we are planning to invest 4–5 startups in this space in H1 2022.

Remarkable performance of the existing portfolio

Most of our existing portfolio startups have shown remarkable growth and performance in 2021. Many of them successfully closed subsequent funding led by prominent investors. Below are a few examples.

Plum: Kept growing fast and now onboarded 1000+ customers comprising startups, enterprises and SMEs. Successfully raised $15.6M series A round led by Tiger Global in May.

Captain Fresh: Marked 6X revenue growth in one year and currently has a distribution network in around 20 cities in India. Successfully raised three funding rounds in one year - seed round led by Matrix Partners, series A ($12M) led by Accel Partners, and series B ($40M) co-led by Tiger Global and Prosus Ventures. The valuation of the startup reached around $200M.

Gourmet Garden: Marked 3.5X revenue growth in one year while keeping a very strong margin profile. Successfully raised $3M at series A round led by Beyond Next Ventures in July.

Nimble Wireless / Waggle: Marked 3.5X revenue growth and reached EBITDA positive. Majority of sales are coming from foreign customers and "make in India, sell globally" story is now strongly working in this startup.

Akudo: Acquired more than 500,000 users only within 6 months from its product launch and keeping 85% MoM growth rate. Successfully raised $4M seed round led by JAFCO Asia and Tribe Capital.

ShopKirana: Marked a very strong revenue growth without adding new cities while improving the unit economics dramatically. A couple of matured cities have already reached operational breakeven. Closing the series C round soon and now accelerating its growth at very fast pace again.

Saveo: Has grown more than 7X in the last 10 months while improving the unit economics significantly. Will start raising series A round soon.

Also, we got many new prominent co-investors in 2021 and it also excited us a lot. In coming years, we would like to collaborate more with those investor friends and, of course, will make more co-investments with other investors/funds as well!

A few example of new co-investors in 2021

In 2022, Incubate Fund India will be…

We will not change. We will keep our basic principles. BUT, we will strengthen our identity and make our investment approach more solid. We will try hard to keep our promise of “super fast decision making” and “super founder friendly”. We will build stronger thesis building capability internally. We will add more members to expand our support offering to the portfolio.

We will start raising our 3rd India dedicated fund in 2022 which will be significantly larger than our 2nd fund. With this new fund, we can contribute to the healthy growth of Indian startups ecosystem more actively.

Let’s collaborate, and make more success together!

Onwards and upwards.

Nao Murakami - 2022/01/02