Venture capital firm BlinC Invest announced the first close of its INR 100 Cr ($13 Mn) alternative investment fund (AIF) at INR 30 Cr ($4 Mn) to invest in 5-7 early-stage edtech and fintech startups.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)-registered Category-II AIF fund will invest in companies that have stable management teams, reasonable traction with market validation, huge market opportunity in India and potential to scale globally. These edtech and fintech companies should have at least 5 Mn learners and 10 Mn users, respectively, registered on their platform.
BlinC Invest’s chairperson and partner, RK Rangam, added that the VC firm will also pay close attention to the founding team, along with primary market research and investment opportunity report, to ensure a shared valued system while investing in any startup. It aims to announce the final close of its early-stage Fund II before year end.
It is important to note that both edtech and fintech were the most popular segments in 2020. Of the total $11.5 Mn invested in the startup ecosystem last year, 18.2% of the capital went into fintech firms that raised about $2.1 Bn across 131 deals and 12.3% went into edtech that raised $1.43 Bn across 101 deals. While fintech has always been a hero of the startup ecosystem, it was the first time edtech was among the top five choices for investors.
Overall, the first quarter can be considered encouraging for Indian startups seeking seed or early-stage funding. 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 Report Q1 2021 report. The top 10 active investors of Indian startups cumulatively cracked 118 deals.
Founded in 2014 by Harvard Business School alumnus Amit RatanPal, BlinC Invest’s team has a combined experience of 60 years. The company claims that the team has collectively founded eight businesses, invested over INR 300 Cr in 25 companies and managed 8 successful exits.
RatanPal has nearly two decades of experience across private equity, capital markets, asset management and investment banking. He has also advised and managed sizeable investments and exits along with building strong businesses across the education and financial services sector.
Rangan, on the other hand, has three decades of experience in the financial services industry across investment banking, asset management, insurance and consumer banking. He has expertise in strategic development and transformation of businesses. /he has previously held executive positions, including CEO rank, with several large corporates like Prudential and Nomura.
Apart from RatanPal and Rangam, BlinC Invest has an advisory board that includes Mindset Global’s chairperson Amit Sevak, Imarticus Learning’s founder and CEO Nikhil Barshikar, Emeritus founder and Korroboree’s cofounder Lina Ashar, and Tunaiku’s founder and PT Bank Amar Indonesia’s CEO Vishal Tulsian.
The company has previously launched its proprietary fund, which was used to make an average investment of INR 5 Cr ($667K, at current conversion rate) in four companies — early stage investment firm 1crowd, professional education institute Imarticus Learning, technology-enabled student platform Genext Students, and student loans startups Eduvanz Financing.
BlinC Invest claims to have made 4.5X return on the back of successful exits from 1crowd through a secondary transaction and Eduvanza, which has raised funding from Sequoia, Unitus Ventures and others.