Lightspeed Venture Partners invests $ 29.5 million in India

By agencies   |   Monday, 18 December 2006, 06:00 Hrs
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Bangalore: Lightspeed Venture Partners, U.S based providers of early stage venture capital to technology companies, announced two major investments in Internet companies with primary business operations based in Bangalore, India. Lightspeed Venture Partners invested $22.5 million in Mercantila and $7 million in TutorVista. Mercantila is a collection of hundreds of specialty stores with a captive Bangalore operation numbering over 100 people currently and growing at a significant pace. The company's Bangalore facility has complete ownership over core business processes including Market Research and Product Development. TutorVista is the premier online destination for affordable education anytime, anywhere and in any subject.

Since inception, Lightspeed Venture partners' mission has been to partner with early stage technology companies possessing the vision, energy and integrity required to build large sustainable enterprises. Lightspeed manages $1.3 Billion, and its partners have invested in more than 100 technology companies over the past two decades.

Mercantila, Inc., is a online retail company that delivers specialty shopping experiences across hundreds of stores in the home-goods, fitness, and wellness markets. Mercantila began operations in 1997 with an online rowing machine store, quickly capturing the market's top share. The company has since grown to 10's of millions in annual revenues and plans to add several additional stores and over 100 additional Bangalore-based employees in 2007.

The other investment by Lightspeed comes in for serial entrepreneur K. Ganesh, with a strong footprint now in online tutoring across global markets under the TutorVista banner. Launched in 2005, TutorVista offers online tutoring that uses voice and white board to bridge the distance between student and tutor. Since the service is open 24/7 and is offered online, students can get tutoring any time and from any location with internet access, freeing parents from the need to drive their children to tutoring centers.

Speaking about the investments Ravi Mhatre, General Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners said, "The venture capital financing segment is at an all time high with the buoyancy experienced by global markets, especially India and China. Internet technology companies across a spectrum of sectors, including retail and education, are in the key focus set of global VCs. We believe India will be at the forefront of the venture capital financing wave, with projects managing to attract multi-million dollar investments in the near future. We are excited to partner with two such emerging leaders in the internet space. We are further scouting for Indian entrepreneurial ventures which could be candidates for early and growth stage equity investments."

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