In a rare good year for startup exits, a toss up between prudence and greed

While secondary share sales are picking up pace amid rising valuations, and M&A exits remain rare, a lot of hope is riding on the performance of upcoming IPOs. And investors are (mostly) looking to hold on to their winners

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Madhav Chanchani

June 16, 2021

12 Min Read

As Firstcry works on the final touches of its $450-500 million fundraise, one of its earliest backers, Elevation Capital, has exited the company.

Elevation, previously known as SAIF Partners, has sold its entire stake of about 10% in the babycare products e-tailer for over 10 times the $15-20 million it invested in it in 2011, said two sources briefed directly on the development. Firstcry, which was valued at about $10 million a decade ago, is now estimated to be worth about $2 billion, according to reports.

Elevation’s complete exit from the fast-growing startup is a rarity in India’s startup ecosystem. With mega exit opportunities rare to come by, investors prefer holding on to at least some of their stakes, especially in high-profile portfolio companies.

It stands out even more because in a year of record investments and rising startup valuations, several venture capital firms in India are holding on to their stakes in high-growth companies. Either for more lucrative exits from secondary share sales, or acquisitions, or the mega opportunity of them all—IPOs.

“For the first time in the history of Indian venture capital, exit is a choice for me,” said Avnish Bajaj, Managing Director at Matrix Partners India, who has been running the venture capital fund for over 15 years. “There is more demand than supply now. When did you have the choice to wait for an IPO?”

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