Two years ago this week, we launched Surge – a startup of our very own – to help daring founders from India and Southeast Asia build the foundations for enduring companies. It was the first pre-Series A program of its type offering $1 million to $2 million of capital along with company building help and mentorship from the top founders of our region. We made it our mission to do everything in our power to make early stage founders successful.
While we are early in our journey, we’ve been amazed at how quickly the ecosystem has deepened over the last 24 months, thrilled by the calibre of founders we’ve been privileged to partner with, and incredibly excited by how much they’ve achieved in such a short period of time. Inspired by their success, we’re doubling down.
We’re excited to announce that Sequoia Capital India recently closed its second seed fund at $195M, to back the next set of mission-driven founders across India and Southeast Asia.
Surge 01 kicked off on March 25, 2019, and four cohorts have now gone through the program. The Surge community has grown to 69 startups, spanning more than 15 sectors, and 164 founders from 17 different nationalities. One-third of Surge startups are building SaaS products, the majority for global markets; 25% are building Consumer Internet startups; 13% are building consumer brands, and 12% are in the B2B space. We also have Surge startups in EdTech, HealthTech, Deep Tech, FinTech and more.
We pioneered the idea of “open architecture” to make Surge a collaborative effort with other seed funds and angel investors and we charge no program fees so other investors can invest at the same terms. Surge startups from the first four cohorts have raised a combined total of $172 million in their Surge rounds. We are delighted that over 100 co-investors have partnered with Surge in these rounds at the start of the program. Thirty of the 52 startups from our first three cohorts have gone on to raise a total of $390 million in follow-on capital after the program. We’re pretty excited about what’s in store for Surge 04 startups, who wrapped up the program in mid-March and will be attending their first UpSurge in April.
While fundraising success is only a directional indicator of the potential of these startups, Surge founders have seen a very steep uptick in the valuation of their companies. While some startups with a break-out trajectory have seen their valuations increase over 10X before and after Surge; on average, startups that have raised follow on capital have seen their valuations increase between 3X and 4X.
In the last two years, we’ve held over 640 hours of company-building workshops and masterclasses, and thousands of one-on-one office hours. Over 150 top founders, mentors and speakers, including Amrish Rau (Pine Labs/Citrus Pay), Ankiti Bose (Zilingo), Ashwini Asokan (Mad Street Den/Vue.ai), Binny Bansal (Flipkart), Byju Raveendran (BYJU’s), Carl Eschenbach (Sequoia Capital), Chatri Sityodtong (ONE Championship), Doug Leone (Sequoia Capital), Gaurav Munjal (Unacademy), Girish Mathrubootham (Freshworks), Harshil Mathur (Razorpay), Jaspreet Singh (Druva), John S. Kim (Sendbird), Karan Bajaj (Whitehat Jr), Kunal Shah (Freecharge/CRED), Michael Moritz (Sequoia Capital), Nadiem Makarim (Gojek), Naveen Tewari (InMobi), Neil Shen (Sequoia China), Nithin Kamath (Zerodha), Patrick Collison (Stripe), Sanjeev Bikhchandani (Info Edge), Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm) and William Tanuwijaya (Tokopedia) have shared their experiences and spent quality time with founders. We couldn’t be more thankful to these incredible high-achievers who have contributed their time, wisdom and insights to pay it forward to the next generation of founders.
Every startup founder lives for customer love, and we’re thrilled by the feedback founders have given to their Surge experience. Surge NPS has been extraordinarily high, rating 90+, for every cohort so far. We ask our founders for feedback on every single session so we can continually improve the product and experience for every subsequent cohort.
While many things have gone well, we also have much work to do to keep improving on our offerings for founders. There is always a lot more we can do towards our mission, to do everything in our power to make founders successful. For example, we are working on new offerings designed specially for engineers building at very early pre-launch stages. We are improving the Surge app that is used by our founder community, to facilitate collaboration amongst our growing tribe. We are also adding more resources to the Surge team, which is already over 20 people, including dedicated recruiters to help our founders identify and attract the best talent to their startups.
We’re incredibly inspired by our founders and the progress they’ve made in the last 24 months. Their passion, vision and deep-seated desire to make an impact on the world and drive change is truly special. The entire team is grateful to be part of each and every Surge founder’s journey, helping them build the enduring businesses of the future. We believe that collectively, we are making a positive dent in the startup ecosystem in this region. Together, the Surge community is bringing new products to market, serving unmet needs and making the world a better place. We are so early in this journey with our founders and yet, some startups already have millions of consumers using their products, some have tens of millions of dollars of revenues, some employ hundreds of people and some have hundreds of enterprise customers. We couldn’t be more fortunate to get a chance to do this with so many gifted, mission-driven founders. We’re powered by a goal to amplify the results of their efforts at the start of their journeys – because that’s when it matters most.
For founders who would like to learn more about Surge, check out our program and curriculum overview here. This post on the ethos of Surge, which was developed together with Surge founders, outlines the values and philosophy of the community. If this resonates with you, we’d love to connect. Applications for Surge are always open at www.surgeahead.com/apply.
The information contained here has been prepared by Sequoia India for informational purposes for company founders from India and Southeast Asia, and it is not, and may not be relied on in any manner as, legal, tax or investment advice or as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any fund or investment vehicle managed by Sequoia India or any other Sequoia entity. The information is given in summary form and does not purport to be complete. Please also note that the examples are illustrative, do not reflect performance as a whole of funds managed by Sequoia India, and are intended to highlight select investments and events that we feel reflect Sequoia India’s seed investment strategy. There is no assurance that we will continue to hold the positions reflected in any example or that we will make similar investments in the future.
Past performance is not indicative of future results. All forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions that may not prove to be correct and actual future operations, opportunities, or financial performance may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. There is no obligation for Sequoia India to update or alter any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.