INTERVIEW: Armed with returns from the Reliance-Netmeds deal, this fund will now invest in two-three more startups before the end of the year

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INTERVIEW: Armed with returns from the Reliance-Netmeds deal, this fund will now invest in two-three more startups before the end of the year
Andrey Terebenin, Managing Partner, Sistema Asia Capital (India)Sistema Asia Fund
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Andrey Terebenin, Managing Partner at the Singapore-based Sistema Asia Capital shares about their wins from the Reliance-Netmeds deal.
  • In 2017, Sistema along with Cambodian investment holding company Tanncam invested ₹90 crore in Netmeds.
  • They have 11 other investments in India including the $820 million cloud kitchens startups Rebel Foods, meat delivery startup Licious, among others.
Last week, the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail acquired pharmacy startup Netmeds for a cash consideration of ₹620 crore. And through the deal, Netmeds’ barely three-year old investor Sistema Asia Capital got a sweet return on its investment.

In an interview with Business Insider, Andrey Terebenin, Managing Partner at the Singapore-based Sistema Asia Capital shares their win from the Reliance-Netmeds deal and the future of their investments in India.

‘Saw Netmeds grow four times in three years’

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In 2017, Sistema along with Cambodian investment holding company Tanncam invested ₹90 crore in Netmeds. While Terebenin didn’t share the exact number on their returns, he said the fund saw Netmeds grow over four times its original size in the past three years. “Naturally, this has yielded considerable returns and we are very happy with the final result. Safe to say, Netmeds has definitely been one of the success stories despite its relatively short-lived stay in our portfolio,” he said.

The fund invests in companies which are “concentrated on technology-driven startups that have strong revenue streams and the potential for fast global scaling” and Terebenin says Netmeds fit nicely within their scope of investment. Over the years, Sistema says that it helped Netmeds grow its supply chain and distribution network.

But did they expect a three-year exit?

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Terebenin explains that they decided to exit as the competition is rising in the Indian online pharmacy space. “We decided to rebalance our portfolio of companies and look into an exit, which is why we accepted Reliance’s timely offer and divested our stakes in Netmeds,” he said.

The Indian pharmacy space has been buzzing with not just Reliance’s acquisition of Netmeds but also PharmEasy and MedLife moving the Competition Commission of India for their merger. MedLife will be selling all of its operations to PharmEasy, for an almost 20% stake in the latter. And then there are also the likes of Amazon and Flipkart who are looking to enter the space.

Second exit in India – two, three more investments on the way before the year end

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For Sistema, Netmeds is the second exit in India. Their first exit was in 2019, it exited the gifting card solutions provider, Qwikcliver, which was acquired by Pine Labs. They have 11 other investments in India including the $820 million cloud kitchens startups Rebel Foods, meat delivery startup Licious, among others. “We are looking to invest in another two or three more before we close this fund (by the end of 2020),” said Terebenin.

The fund invests in consumer tech and enterprise tech, but across various sectors. Their investment ranges between $2-$4 million, but they also do additional investment rounds as the startup scales.


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