Venture capital fund Ankur Capital has announced the first close of its second fund Ankur Capital Fund II (ACF II) at INR 240 Cr. The fund expects to reach its target close of INR 350 Cr later this year.
ACF-II saw participation from UK-based Development Finance Institution CDC Group Plc and existing Limited Partners, The Dutch Good Growth Fund and SIDBI, which is investing out of its Fund of Funds Startup programme.
The early-stage VC fund will continue to leverage its core areas of agritech and healthtech but will also look at fintech, vernacular based technologies and edtech that are focused on the mass markets. The VC will be announcing a few deals shortly and expects to do seven to eight investments in the coming year.
“The spread of smartphones across markets that were previously in digital darkness is seeing a spurt of new businesses and also leading to convergence of technologies where disruptions in hardware coupled with software is giving rise to new opportunities,” Ritu Verma, cofounder and managing partner, Ankur Capital told Inc42.
The fund will invest in early-stage companies with disruptive technologies for the next billion markets. “Our first fund did some exciting biotech and medtech deals in addition to software technology that rode these trends. We will continue to explore similar opportunities from this fund,” said Verma.
Founded in 2014 by Verma and ex-COO of Zee e-learning Rema Subramanian, Ankur Capital’s first fund invested in 14 startups across sectors including agritech, food, healthcare and vernacular technologies. Some of the companies include Cropin, Niramai, Healthsutra, ERC, and StringBio.
“From our earlier fund we had limits on how far we could support our investees. The new fund allows us to go much deeper and support companies for longer,” Verma told us. The VC’s tarting sweetspot is around at $1 Mn and it can go upto $5 Mn.
CDC will play a key role in advancing the Fund’s approach to environmental and social practices, both at the fund and portfolio level. CDC will also help strengthen the network of portfolio advisers and build further capacity in portfolio companies. CDC is funded by the UK government CDC has been responsible for investing in Indian funds for over 30 years.
“Supporting the first close of ACF-II goes to the heart of how we use our capital at CDC. The companies that Ankur’s Fund will support are at the forefront of addressing development impact challenges using new technologies in India. This Fund will address United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, 1,2,3 and 4, demonstrating our commitment to investing to support the SDG’s,” said Sara Taylor, Director and Head of Catalyst Funds, Funds and Capital Partnerships, in a statement.
ACF-II was launched in early 2019 and has onboarded Krishnan Neelakantan, ex-head of CLSA India Research as a partner. The fund will continue its focus on frontier technologies that unlock markets for the next billion.