Mumbai-based incubator and early stage startup fund 9Unicorns announced the third close of its first accelerator fund at over INR 300 Cr or $40 Mn with more than 36 additional LPs — industrialists and businesses hailing from India and across the globe. The fund intends to write its first check to 150 startups from various tech sectors through the capital raised over the next year.
Operated by early stage VC Venture Catalysts, the 9Unicorns fund’s third close included key players and limited partners (LPs) such as Indian Bank, Chona Family Office, among others.
The fund announced its first close at INR 100 Cr ($14 Mn) in September last year. In February this year, the fund closed its second round with participation from several global and Indian industrialists including leading sweets and snacks giant Haldiram’s. Along with Haldiram’s, 9Unicorns is backed by the OPG Group, the MBG Group, Parakh Foods, Qualcon International, UB Cotton, along with executives from SAP, LinkedIn, Quest Global, AB InBev and Fujitsu.
Launched in August 2019, 9Unicorns has a total fund target of $70 Mn (INR 521 Cr) and is in talks to raise an additional INR 300 Cr in the near future. It is aiming for an average ticket size of $150K for 5%-7% stake per startup and will invest at the idea-stage.
The fund aims to focus on startups in deeptech, software-as-a-service, media and entertainment, FMCG brands and products or the D2C segment, fintech, insurance, healthtech, edtech, travel and logistics. Some of the startups in its portfolio are video shopping platform Toch.ai, financing firm Klub, fertility care provider Janani, marketing automation firm ExtraaEdge, audio production automation firm Deepsync, D2C lifestyle footwear brand Monrow, and the edtech startup Qin1.
“We have made our third close much before our set target and are looking to make the final close soon, to propel an already thriving startup economy,” Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, founder of 9Unicorns, told ET
9Unicorns is a dedicated fund allocation offered by Venture Catalysts. In December last year, the fund invested INR 3.6 Cr in NCOME, an escrow-as-a-service startup. Besides this, it invested in beverages startup Raskik in its $1 Mn Pre-Series A funding round.
Besides 9Unicorn, several global VC firms have also been looking to invest in seed, early and growth-stage Indian startups. Earlier this year, Delhi-based early-stage venture capital firm Kisho Capital launched a rolling fund targetting investments in 20 tech startups annually.
Overall, the first quarter of 2021 can be considered encouraging for Indian startups seeking seed or early-stage funding. The top 10 active investors of Indian startups cumulatively cracked 118 deals. Over $125 Mn of seed funding was poured into startups in Q1 of 2021, compared to $150 Mn invested in Q4 of 2020 (16% decline), but a 17% increase from $107 Mn in Q1 2020. The average ticket size fell from $2.2 Mn in Q1 2020 to $1.5 Mn in Q1 2021, as per Inc42 Plus’ The Indian Tech Startup Funding Amount Q1 2021 report.