The UK-based publicly-owned impact investor CDC Group has committed to invest nearly $10 Mn to early-stage venture fund Chiratae Ventures’ Fund IV, which will in turn make investments with the flexibility to invest at seed and expansion stages.
Chiratae Venture’s Fund IV will focus on “highly” scalable tech-enabled startups across consumer deeptech, internet, software, healthtech, and fintech sectors. The early-stage investment firm believes that Chiratae’s investments will create large-scale employment for underserved groups and increase the availability, affordability and accessibility of goods and services.
CDC’s commitment falls under its South Asia Venture scale-up programme, which aims to invest in early-stage companies that leverage technology and innovative business models to achieve transformational impact at scale. Srini Nagarajan, MD and head of Asia at CDC added, “This investment will help generate tangible impact at scale by capitalising on the country’s world-class entrepreneurial potential.”
For CDC, the investment in Chiratae’s fund is part of a strategy to increase its investments in India’s rapidly growing technology startup ecosystem. The investment firms so far committed nearly $60 Mn across private equity and venture capital funds — such as pi ventures, Stellaris, Pravega, Chiratae, Omnivore and Ankur Capital — operating in India.
Besides this, it has also invested nearly $70 Mn in Indian startups directly. It’s portfolio includes grocery delivery startup BigBasket, deeptech startup iMerit Technology, B2B lender Indifi Technologies, Flipkart-owned fashion ecommerce Jabong (shut down in early 2020), logistics startup LoadShare, logistics solution provider Ecom Express, healthcare startup Portea Medical and others.
In 2018, the company had also shared its aim to invest $1.7 Bn in India and some of other countries in South Asia. The company had announced that it was looking to double its India portfolio by 2021.
Meanwhile, Chiratae Ventures, formerly known as IDG Ventures, has nearly $775 Mn worth assets under management spread across 85 portfolio companies, and had over 35 exit transactions. Its portfolio includes health and fitness startup Cure.Fit, ecommerce platforms FirstCry, shared mobility service Bounce, eyewear brand Lenskart and financial service marketplace PolicyBazaar, ecommerce giant Flipkart, health and fitness company HealthifyMe and others.
“CDC’s commitment to Chiratae Ventures’ Fund IV is a show of confidence in India’s innovative ecosystem,” said Sudhir Sethi, founder and chairman, Chiratae Ventures.
Chiratae Ventures is not the only company that has been preparing itself to invest in Indian startups as the pandemic has hit. On Tuesday, Lightspeed Venture Partners’s Indian unit, Lightspeed India Partners, also raised its Fund III with a commitment of $275 Mn (nearly INR 2,055 Cr at current conversion rate) from global institutional limited partners. Overall, the early-stage VC firm has invested nearly $750 Mn in India since its inception in 2007.
Hyderabad-based early-stage venture capital firm Endiya Partners is currently raising its fund II to invest in B2B startups across healthcare, enterprise technology solutions and consumer services sectors. The firm has already raised $10 Mn (nearly INR 75 Cr) from World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and $6.6 Mn (INR 50 Cr) from Japan-based Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF Fund.
Seattle and Bengaluru-based Unitus Ventures Fund II has received INR 75 Cr from Small Industrial Development Bank of India’s (SIDBI) Fund of Funds for startups as well. Even PepsiCo’s former CEO Indra Nooyi, AmSoft Systems’ president Raj Nooyi, former Cognizant CEO Lakshmi Narayanan have also joined in its existing investors to back the firm.