Mumbai/Bengaluru: Lee Fixel, the former Tiger Global executive responsible for the firm’s most lucrative India investments, is set to return to his favourite stomping ground as early as next month; this time with his own money, three people directly aware of the matter said.
Fixel is looking to invest around $1 billion through his new fund, Addition, as soon as a non-compete agreement with his former employer expires, the people said, requesting anonymity. He plans to actively look at startups in India and also in South-East Asia, they said.
As the head of Tiger Global’s private equity business, Fixel led the firm’s investment in Flipkart. Walmart later bought a majority stake in Flipkart, giving the US fund its biggest pay-off in India so far.
Fixel was also the architect of Tiger’s other early bets on unicorns such as Ola, Delhivery and Quikr. At Tiger, Fixel was known for his speed of decision-making, often writing a fat cheque just after a brief Skype interview with founders. His aggressive investment approach took peers by surprise, but also earned him global attention.
He has also led lucrative investments in tech giants such as Facebook, LinkedIn and music streaming service Spotify.
“He (Fixel) has set up Addition to invest in tech startups in the areas where Tiger used to invest earlier, and more, and once the non-compete expires in a month or so, he will look at deals actively,” said a close associate and partner at a top venture capital firm.
Fixel is already in talks with a few Indian startups to sign cheques. He has held conversations to invest personally in a $24 million seed round at fintech startup Amica Technologies, said two people close to the development, separate from the three cited earlier. Amica has been founded by Jitendra Gupta, a former managing director at Naspers-owned PayU India. Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners are expected to invest as well, The Economic Times reported on 9 August. Gupta declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Fixel confirmed the development, but declined to comment on specific deals and plans. Tiger informed its investors in a letter in March that Fixel might invest his own money and is expected to start a fund.
On Forbes’s “The Midas Touch” list, Fixel appeared six times in the past 12 years, Mint reported in a profile published on 19 March, after he resigned from Tiger. Fixel’s confidant and head of Tiger’s India operations, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, too moved to lead Flipkart, from which Tiger realized $3 billion when Walmart bought a majority stake in Flipkart last year.
Since Fixel announced his departure in March, Tiger’s Indian investments have been headed by Scott Shleifer, under whom Tiger has returned to Indian startups after staying away from fresh bets for over two years. This year Tiger has invested over $400 million in more than 15 startups, including agri-tech startup Ninjacart, home services firm UrbanClap and bookkeeping firm OkCredit, shows a Mint analysis.
“Lee’s non-compete clause with Tiger Global also included that he will not invest in any of the Tiger’s investee companies,” said one of the first three people cited earlier. “This is also part of the reason why Tiger has been so aggressive with its investments.”
Addition’s possible entry comes along with that of a multitude of investors including private equity funds, pension and wealth funds that want to invest more in Indian startups.
“Investors of all sorts—HNIs (high net worth individuals), PE funds and others—are very keen to invest in Indian tech startups because they have seen exits and money being made, which is a big confidence booster,” said Anand Lunia, partner at India Quotient, an early-stage investor. “The underlying parameters needed for a startup to grow, such as internet adoption, UPI and banking reforms are growing very rapidly,” he added.