Viewpoint / Mayfield India

Mayfield India’s Entrepreneurs Seize the Day

Amagi, EatClub, Leap, Licious, Simplilearn and Mayfield logos displayed on colorful background

The potential of India’s early stage and venture market is now beginning to bear fruit. Over the last decade, we have seen India’s lack of infrastructure transform from a hindrance to  the country’s growth into a stunning opportunity for smart founders to create value for themselves and their investors. This trend has been the same across verticals, whether it be telecoms, retail, healthcare or mobility. By bringing the latest technology to solve decades-old infrastructure bottlenecks we are seeing India emerge as a country that is leapfrogging other countries and providing its people best in class products and services. From an investor’s perspective, the best thing is that this seems to be just the beginning, and that there is still a long way to go before these opportunities dry up.

In addition to lack of infrastructure creating opportunities, there are other areas that play to India’s strengths. First, India’s leadership in the software services space continues to strengthen. What started in the mid 1990’s as a reaction to the y2k bug has now grown to a large industry leveraging India’s large trained workforce, competitive costs and world-class software services infrastructure. These advantages continue to create new opportunities in different spaces, including SaaS, cloud and services. Additionally, we are starting to see the commercialisation of leading-edge science and engineering breakthroughs in India itself, which is creating a host of new and exciting opportunities. Finally, as the Indian consumer matures, new opportunities are being created by new-age brands and direct to consumer products or services. 

All of these excite us tremendously at Mayfield and we are firm believers that these trends will show us exciting new opportunities in the years to come. At the same time, we have already seen some of this bear fruit in our portfolio.

Simplilearn, an EdTech play which provides certification courses to the world, turned its business around by moving from classroom training to online only with the Mayfield-led investment round in 2015. By the time Mayfield successfully sold its stake in a buyout transaction, the company had served over two million students across 150+ countries following 6 years of steady growth.. The incoming buyout fund, Blackstone India, was very happy to take the baton as they saw there were still many growth opportunities ahead for the company.

LEAP, another early investment from our second fund, has grown on the back of evolving retail trade. India’s internet and e-commerce penetration continues to grow, and this necessitates a change in the way back-ends work. Where goods used to be delivered to small mom and pop shops, they now need to be moved in bulk to huge warehouses in first-mile distribution, and in turn to meticulously planned mid-mile warehouse networks. This large magnitude of material handling requires pallets. LEAP has emerged as the largest pallet provider in India and has seen large growth due to this demand. Today, the company has almost all the large B2C and B2B eCommerce companies on its client roster. As online commerce grows over 10x to an estimated $800 billion in 2030, we believe demand for pallets will continue on the same trajectory that has already made this company a market leader.

Licious has benefitted from many trends. As India becomes wealthier and more discerning, people want to eat better food. With its direct to home fresh meat product, Licious was at the right place at the right time to cater to this need. This, coupled with the fact that India’s meat markets were stuck firmly in the past and still operated as unhygienic ‘wet markets’, helped Licious grow from small beginnings to India’s largest meat brand with annual revenues in excess of $100 million. As the first institutional investors in this company, we have had a front row seat on their journey and we are happy to remain invested in Licious as it embarks on its next stage of growth.

Amagi, similar to Simplilearn, is another company in the Mayfield portfolio that was able to build a world-class product from India for the world. When Mayfield first partnered with the company over 8 years ago, Amagi had one tech product and a handful of customers in the Indian television ad-sales market. Over the years, the founders continued to innovate on building a whole bouquet of media-tech products and were also savvy enough to spot the opportunity to be at the forefront of global change. The distribution end of the global media tech world was ready to be transformed from satellite to ‘cloud playouts’. Amagi catalyzed, if not led, this industry transformation. The company’s SaaS annual recurring revenue grew ~7x in 3 years running up to Mayfield’s exit.

EatClub is another business in the food space in India. Similar to Licious, EatClub has also benefited from Indian consumers’ changing tastes and desire to have high quality products , delivered to their doorsteps at a fair price. From an early start serving Indian meals in a box under the brand of Box8, the company now has eight separate brands serving Indian meals, rice bowls, wraps, pizzas and desserts. All of these brands share back-end synergies which allow the company to provide its customers with a wide range of products at price and quality points that consistently delight.

As we continue on our investment journey in India, we are heartened by our successes and tremendously excited by the opportunities that lie ahead of us.

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