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ET Startup Awards 2019: LightSpeed's Bejul Somaia bags the 'Midas Touch' category

Bejul Somaia’s early and bold bets as well as his timely exits helped him win over other nominees.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 24, 2019, 09.18 PM IST
LightSpeed's Bejul Somaia lifts the 'Midas Touch' category at ET Startup Awards 2019
LightSpeed's Bejul Somaia lifts the 'Midas Touch' category at ET Startup Awards 2019
It has been a stellar run for Bejul Somaia, managing director at Lightspeed Venture Partners, over the past two years. To top that was an almost $1 billion partial exit he’s just clocked from the fund’s most prized portfolio company, Oyo, the announcement of which came on the day of The Economic Times Startup Awards jury meeting.

Even as the jury took note of the massive return Somaia and Lightspeed would make on a $20-25 million investment in Oyo, they emphasised equally on how the Midas Touch winner needs to come in early and nurture startups through their life cycle. Somaia’s early and bold bets like a $600,00 cheque for a 26% stake in Oyo, doubling down on Udaan, a business-tobusiness trading platform, and his exits from Indian Energy Exchange and ItzCash helped him win over others.

“To have my work recognised by the jury means a lot, especially as the venture business is one where it is hard to know how you’re doing for a very long time. But the true heroes in our business are the entrepreneurs — they are the visionaries who dream about a future that looks different than the status quo, and from whom we learn everything we know. I dedicate this award to each and every entrepreneur I’ve met over the past 12 years,” Somaia said.

Read: ET Startup Awards 2019: Fit & Glow Healthcare is the 'Bootstrap Champ'

In 2008, Somaia established Lightspeed’s India operations. While the Silicon Valley firm invested in the country from its global corpus, it was only in 2015 that an India-dedicated $135 million fund was created under Somaia’s leadership. That was followed by a bigger $175 million India Fund II, announced last year, giving Lightspeed a leg-up in a competitive early-stage investing market.

“Bejul has built a reputation as someone who spots great opportunities, but also gives his full energy to support, nurture, and coach his entrepreneurs. Having met many of his portfolio companies, they value his trust, support, and guidance,” said juror Satyan Gajwani, the vice-chairman of Times Internet.

Also Read: Tenacity of Snapdeal founders makes them 'Comeback Kid' in ET Startup Awards 2019

Other contenders

SAIF Partners| Mukul Arora

Key Investments: Swiggy, Meesho, Unacademy
Investment Strategy: Arora started out as an associate at SAIF Partners in 2010, and within six years he became a partner at the fund. His bet on Swiggy, which is valued at more than $3.3 billion today, is among the fund’s most valuable firms.


Accel Partners| Anand Daniel

Key Investments:
Swiggy, Blackbuck, Bounce, TaxiForSure
Investment Strategy: Anand Daniel has a diverse portfolio across commerce, enterprise, logistics, healthcare and finance. His top exits include TaxiForSure which was sold to Ola for $200 million.


Multiples Alternate Asset Management| Renuka Ramnath

Key Investments: Delhivery, PVR, Dream11, Indian Energy Exchange,
Investment Strategy: Ramnath runs a PE firm that manages assets of over $1 billion. Her fund has reaped rich dividends after scoring partial exits from investments like Delhivery and Dream11.


Samaa Capital| Ash Lilani

Key Investments: Snapdeal, Paytm, Mezi, Raw Pressery, Lendingkart
Investment Strategy: Among a small group of early-stage investors to have consistently snagged cash exits across his portfolio including Snapdeal, Mezi and Paytm, Lilani has earned stellar.

Also Read

Bejul Somaia taught me how to hire right: Ritesh Agarwal, CEO, Oyo Rooms

Incubating two startups was a positive experience: Bejul Somaia, Lightspeed Venture Partners

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