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Accel Closes $550 Million Venture Fund for Indian Startups

Saritha Rai

(Bloomberg) -- Accel has closed its sixth India fund with $550 million to invest in early stage startups, taking advantage of a booming market for technology.The capital will be invested across “one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world,” Accel said in a statement on Monday. The firm will focus on startups in social commerce, curated marketplaces and artificial intelligence for health care.

The Silicon Valley venture capital firm raised its first Indian fund in 2005. At the time, just 1 in 50 Indians had access to the internet and a small fraction had mobile phones, the firm said. Now nearly half the country is online and 150 million people make payments online.

Its most striking bet was an $800,000 investment in the country’s largest online retailer Flipkart Online Services Pvt, which it continued backing until Walmart Inc. took a controlling stake last year at a valuation of about $21 billion.Several other startups in its portfolio have become “unicorns,” companies valued at more than $1 billion. Those include food-delivery startup Swiggy, valued at $3.4 billion, and software-as-a-service firm Freshworks, valued at $3.5 billion.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saritha Rai in Bangalore at srai33@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Amy Thomson, Nate Lanxon

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