Staying Global (with Bejul Somaia)
A top Lightspeed partner talks about its business in India & the future of VC
Lightspeed Venture Partners can sometimes live in the shadow of its noisier rivals.
Andreessen Horowitz has a massive war chest, sprawling payroll, and insatiable appetite for attention. Meanwhile, Sequoia Capital is, well, Sequoia.
But Lightspeed has established itself as one of the top multi-stage technology investors of this era. In July 2022, Lightspeed announced that it had raised more than $7 billion to invest in startups. Now, as Sequoia spins off its Chinese and Indian venture capital arms and as Lightspeed builds out its presence in Europe, Lightspeed is looking like one of the most globally-oriented venture capital firms.
I invited Bejul Somaia on the Newcomer podcast to talk about Lightspeed’s investments in India and its global strategy. Somaia is one of the leaders of the firm and relocated to the United States after many years investing for Lightspeed in India.
“We want to see, access, and compete for the best opportunities wherever they are,” Somaia told me.
Venture capital investments in India fell to $25.7 billion in 2022 from $38.5 billion in 2021.
“Forcing capital into these companies is not necessarily the answer and I think we’ve learned that time and again,” Somaia said.
“2021 — we know was out of control everywhere. But in shallow markets, out of control is even more damaging because the asset price inflation is even more significant in shallow markets. The movements are more jarring,” he said. A correction was healthy, necessary, and painful.