FOMO out, scrutiny in: VC investments fall 77% in Q1 2023 says KPMG

FOMO out, scrutiny in: VC investments fall 77% in Q1 2023 says KPMG
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  • VC investments in India softened in the first quarter of 2023 but expected to pick up in the latter half of 2023 says a KPMG report.
  • This quarter, VC investors were inclined to make smaller investments in startups with more reliable valuations.
  • In Q1 2023, VC investment in Asia declined significantly, dropping from $25.5 billion in Q4 2022 to just $13.5 billion.
VC investment in India has softened in the January-March quarter of 2023 as investors were picky and scrutinized potential deals more intensely, says a Venture Pulse report by KPMG.

VC investments went down to $2.1 billion in the quarter, down by 77% as compared to the same quarter last year when VCs poured in $9.1 billion into the market.

“Despite the current slowdown in VC funding, macro factors in India remained relatively strong compared to other jurisdictions, which is driving optimism that the country will see a bounce back in VC investment in the later half of 2023,” said the report.

The FOMO effect

VC investments in Q1 of 2023 hit a 11-quarter low, as VC investments were at $2.1 billion last in the second quarter of 2020 – right when the lockdowns had started.

Soon after however came a boom time. KPMG says that Fear of Missing Out or FOMO drove a lot of VC investment in India in 2021 and early 2022. However, without the FOMO effect is now gone and VCs enhanced their focus on startup performance and profitability.

“The biggest change in India is that the euphoria for deals has died down. The FOMO has gone. The big ticket deals have also dried up, which has had an outsized impact on our total investment numbers,” says Nitish Poddar, partner and national leader, PE KPMG in India.

Fintech was still a major area of investment, with large deals such as PhonePe, NoBroker, KreditBee, and Insurance Dekho. Agtech and gaming also saw increased interest. However, edtech interest declined in Q1 2023 after a period of high enthusiasm.

“But despite the visible decline, it’s important to know that a lot is still happening in India. The macros here are still very good. We’re still seeing a lot of funding in pre-series A deals. And we’re still seeing a lot of new micro funds being raised in the country — funds under $100 million with check sizes from $1–5 million,” says Poddar.

VC investments in Asia decline, Down rounds go up

In Q1 2023, VC investment in Asia declined significantly, dropping from $25.5 billion in Q4 2022 to just $13.5 billion. This was the lowest quarter for VC investment in the region since Q2 2015, with several factors contributing to the decline.

In China, a surge in Covid-19 cases impacted VC activity prior to the New Year holidays. Hong Kong was affected by rising interest rates and a slowdown in IPO activity, while India experienced investors becoming more selective with their investments.

Japan was the only country in the region to see an increase in investment during Q1 2023, but the total was still far lower than Q1 2022. The data also shows that down rounds (when the pre-money valuation of a fundraising round is lower than the post-money valuation of the round previous) has gone up significantly in 2023 as compared to the last year, the report reveals.

In Q1 2023, the global VC investment trend showed a decline in each quarter following its peak of over $200 billion in Q1 2022. By Q1 2023, the total VC investment worldwide had dropped significantly, falling well below $60 billion.

The uncertain global market, which is impacted by factors such as rising interest rates, domestic and geopolitical challenges, economic concerns, and the war in Ukraine, meant that no region was immune to the changing market conditions. This resulted in investors becoming increasingly cautious and risk-averse, leading to a reduction in VC investment activity.