Early stage venture fund focused on new age technologies — pi Ventures has announced the final close of its first fund at $35.16 Mn (INR 225 Cr), exceeding the initial target of $27 Mn (INR 195 Cr) by 17%.
The fund plans to invest in 18-20 startups in the healthtech, logistics, retail, fintech and enterprise sectors over the next three-four years, with a significant portion being allocated for follow-on rounds.
Established in 2016 by Manish Singhal, pi Ventures is focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence and IoT. The fund writes cheques between $500K and $1 Mn. With its thesis revolving around intelligence from data, the fund do the investments of up to $1 Mn in the first cheque and tend to be the first institutional cheque in the company.
Last month, pi Ventures had secured $6 Mn from the CDC Group UK, prior to that, in January this year, it announced the second close at $25 Mn. In 2017, it had secured, an undisclosed amount from Accel Partners and $3 Mn from International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Key contributors to the fund include Chairman of Hero Enterprise Sunil Kant Munjal, Electronic Development Fund (managed by Canbank Ventures), SIDBI, prominent family offices from the USA, Canada, Singapore & India.
The fund also counts marquee names like Mohandas Pai, Binny Bansal, Deep Kalra, Sanjeev Bikhchandani and Bhupen Shah among others as its backers. The fund is co-sponsored by In Color Capital of Canada.
Notably, the fund has received 60% of its corpus from institutional investors and a majority from Indian limited partners.
pi Ventures has announced six investments so far:
- SigTuple: a global healthcare startup utilising data-driven intelligence
- NIRAMAI: working on a non-invasive, non-touch, non-radiation approach to detect breast cancer
- ten3T: offering a medical grade wearable device
- Zenatix: a data-driven energy efficiency company acquired by Hero Electronix
- CustomerSuccessBox: a customer success platform which helps B2B SaaS companies reduce, churn and grow their recurring revenue by applying AI and ML
- Locus.sh: a logistics optimisation platform
The VC firm has already made an exit on its earlier investment in Zenatix, which offers energy efficiency solutions to large commercial consumers of electricity.
During a recent Moneyball interaction with Inc42, Manish Singhal, founding partner of pi Ventures had disclosed — “Our model is not to spray and pray but to be very focussed and do fewer investments. So from the fund, we may do 10-15 investments totally over the next three years.”
According to Inc42 DataLabs Indian Tech Startup Funding H1 2018 report, Artificial intelligence (AI), big data, edtech, entertainment, hardware, and adtech are some of the sectors that are expected to pick up the pace in the coming months.
According to a report, the AI market in India was estimated to grow from $419.7 Mn in 2014 to $5.05 Bn by 2020, at a CAGR of 53.65%, due to factors such as diversified application areas, improved productivity, and increased customer satisfaction.