Rahul Chaudhary, a co-founder of Treebo, joins VC firm Matrix Partners
Rahul Chaudhary, a co-founder of Treebo, joins VC firm Matrix Partners
Rahul Chaudhary, the Co-founder of Treebo Hotels, has recently announced his decision to join Matrix Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence. He will work with the venture capital firm to invest in early-stage companies and will also be involved in portfolio company operations.
This is a significant move for Matrix Partners as they continue to build on their investment portfolio in the Indian startup ecosystem. Not only does this move reflect Rahul’s belief in Matrix Partners’ ability to add value to early-stage startups, but it also underscores the growing interest among top entrepreneurs in working with venture capitalists (VCs) in India.
This move is another sign that the Indian startup ecosystem is maturing rapidly. With top entrepreneurs like Rahul actively seeking out partnerships with VCs, Indian startups can look forward to even more successful years ahead.
Rahul Chaudhary has over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry and has been instrumental in growing Treebo into one of the largest budget hotel chains in India. Under his leadership, Treebo has raised over $115 million in funding and achieved profitability in 2017.
By June 2021, Treebo had raised $16 million, primarily from French hospitality juggernaut Accor. The investment by Accor was a component of a bigger collaboration in which Treebo would implement its hotel management software across numerous Accor hotels globally. Last week, Treebo announced it achieved EBITDA break-even with an adjusted EBITDA (adjusted for ESOP expenses) of Rs 1.65 crore.
Rahul has been instrumental in building Treebo into one of the leading budget hotel chains in India. Under his leadership, Treebo has raised more than $60 million from investors such as SAIF Partners, Sequoia Capital, and Google Capital. The company currently operates more than 2,000 rooms across 70 Indian cities and is on track to achieve profitability later this year.
Matrix Partners has been one of the most active investors in the Indian startup ecosystem and has backed some of the country’s most prominent startups including Ola, Quikr, and Mu Sigma. In a press statement, Rahul Chaudhary said that he was impressed by Matrix Partners’ track record of helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses. He added that he was looking forward to working with the team at Matrix Partners to help Treebo expand its presence across India and South-East Asia.
Matrix Partners has a strong track record of investing in some of India’s most successful startups, including Ola, Hike Messenger, and Quikr. In recent years, the firm has also been focusing on early-stage investments, which is where Rahul’s experience will be invaluable. As an entrepreneur-in-residence at Matrix Partners, Rahul will provide guidance to portfolio companies while also working on new investment opportunities.
In a move that is set to strengthen Matrix Partners’ early stage investment activity in the country, Rahul Chaudhary has decided to join the firm as an entrepreneur-in-residence. This comes barely months after he decided to shut down Treebo Hotels, which he co-founded in 2015.
Avinash Bajaj and Rishi Navani’s joint venture, Matrix, was established in 2006. Navani was a former McKinsey executive and an investor with Westbridge Capital, while Bajaj was the co-founder and CEO of Baazee, which was later bought and became eBay India. Matrix has already raised $300 million in 2006 and another $300 million in 2011. Navani, one of the co-founders, quit Matrix in 2015 to launch his own business, Epiq Capital. The second fund of Matrix was topped off with $110 million in 2016, and a third fund totalling $300 million was raised in 2019.
Rahul, who is one of the early members of India’s startup ecosystem, has been actively involved with Matrix Partners since 2017 as a mentor and advisor to portfolio companies. “Rahul is one of the most experienced entrepreneurs in India and his insights into the country’s early stage ecosystem will be invaluable to us,” said Avnish Bajaj, managing director at Matrix Partners India.
“There is no doubt that Rahul’s experience and network will help us identify and partner with some of the best early stage startups in the country,” added Bajaj.
“Rahul is one of the most well respected entrepreneurs in India and we are excited to have him on board,” said Vikram Vaidyanathan, managing director at Matrix Partners India.
Rahul Chaudhary said that he was looking forward to working with the team at Matrix Partners and helping them build great businesses from India. “The Indian startup landscape is evolving rapidly and there are a lot of exciting opportunities for early stage companies. I am excited to work with the team at Matrix Partners and help them build some of the leading companies in this space,” he said.
Matrix Partners has been one of the most active venture capital investors in India over the past few years. The firm has backed more than 80 companies in India, including Ola, Quikr, Practo, Swiggy, Byju’s and Zomato.
Chaudhary had started Treebo with Ritesh Agarwal, who is now the youngest self-made billionaire in Asia, in 2015. He will continue to be a part of the company as a board observer.
Prior to starting Treebo, Chaudhary was with McKinsey & Company for six years. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Chaudhary was also the co-founder and CEO of Ibibo Group, which was acquired by South African internet giant Naspers in 2016 for $2 billion. He also has a long stint at Google where he led the online sales for the company in India. Rahul was also associated with Flipkart for about four years where he worked in various roles such as business head – Electronics & Media, Director of Seller ecosystem and GM (Mobiles). At Flipkart, Rahul was responsible for building the business from scratch and making it one of the leading players in the online space.
Rahul Chaudhary’s move to Matrix Partners is seen as a positive step as it will give him more exposure to different industries and also help him in understanding the startup ecosystem better.
Rahul Chaudhary’s decision to join Matrix Partners is based on two factors – one, he wants to work with a larger team and secondly, he wants to focus on early-stage investments. In his previous role at Treebo, Rahul was responsible for building the business and scaling it up. He was also actively involved in the product development process and played a crucial role in shaping the company culture.
“I am excited to be working with Matrix Partners whose portfolio includes some of the most successful startups in India,” said Chaudhary. “I look forward to helping young entrepreneurs build great companies.”
He has decided to move on and join Matrix Partners India as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Rahul has been associated with Treebo for over two years and has now decided to take his learnings from the startup and apply them at Matrix Partners. At Matrix, Rahul will provide operational support to portfolio companies and work on new investment opportunities.
Matrix Partners, along with other VC firms including Elevation Capital and Bertelsmann India, are supporting Chaudhary’s Treebo. Chaudhary stressed in his post, “Thanks Avnish, Rajat, Rajinder, Tarun, Vikram, and team @matrixindiavc for having me.”
The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the hotel sector, and Treebo also had a challenging year. At the height of the pandemic, the corporation offered a paid voluntary resignation programme to about 250 employees, and Chaudhary’s departure occurred around the same time.
In June 2021, Chaudhary resigned from his position, but he remained involved in his business as a board member and advisor.