Venture Capital Cools Off in 2008; Five Notable Deals

2008 was supposed to be the golden year of venture investing in India. I was optimistic that investments would breach the psychological $1 billion mark. After the $875 million (according to Venture Intelligence) invested during calendar year 2007, it seemed logical. But, as per Venture Intelligence’s estimates, investments till November 2008 were at $735 million. It is unlikely that December, which has been the worst hit since the US recession became official, has been a great month for deals.

Overall, India’s private equity (including venture capital) investment numbers for 2008 are down. Grant Thornton India, reporting numbers till December 15, puts total investments at $10.42 billion against $19.03 billion in 2007 (full year) — that’s a drop of over 45 per cent. The total number of deals has dropped from 1081 in 2007 to 751 in 2008.

Here’s a look at five notable venture deals in 2008:

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Tata NEN: Tech Overdose

Tata-NEN Hottest Startups Awards released its top 30 nominees (chosen via a rather controversial public nomination and voting procedure) — see the shortlist in print media partner Mint’s report. I’m disappointed to note that 16 out of the 30 shortlisted — from which five will be declared winners after another round of public voting — are related in one way or the other to technology. It would be interesting to know how the overall 588 nominees break out in terms of sectors. Would technology still dominate? If so, one would have to conclude that public opinion as far as entrepreneurship is concerned is still hopelessly biased towards technology. I hope the opposite is true.

My favourites from the Top 30:

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