CIIE (Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship) at Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad’s early-stage deep tech and IP focussed venture fund Bharat Innovation Fund has announced the first close of its $100 mn fund.
The pre-Series-A and Series-A focussed $100 mn fund has secured around 50% commitments from marquee institutional investors. The investors in the fund are corporates, banks, insurers, and fund of funds – including SIDBI through its Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) program, ICICI Lombard, Philips, Bajaj Electricals Ltd., RBL Bank, among others.
Kunal Upadhyay, Managing Partner of Bharat Innovation Fund; said, “Indian entrepreneurs are producing globally-competitive IP-driven innovations across themes like healthcare/biotech, agriculture, energy, and enterprise-tech – enabled by cutting-edge research and trends like AI, ML, IoT, India Stack, among others. Bharat Innovation Fund will catalyse these transformational deep-tech startups by providing the capital, access to the market, strategic inputs and partnership connect.”
Bharat Innovation Fund invests at the seed or Series A stage which includes grants and venture capital. The fund was founded to support and encourage entrepreneurs in the emerging sectors such as agriculture, health, energy as well as enterprises. They also support corporates adopting digital technologies, especially technologies related to manufacturing and design.
The Bharat Innovation Fund team has a diverse background and come with years of experience in venture investing, incubating, building massively-scalable tech products, and leading corporates and startups.
The partners of the Fund include Kunal Upadhyay and Shyam Menon (who were co-founders of Infuse Ventures), Ashwin Raguraman (who was COO of India Innovation Fund), Sanjay Jain (former Product Manager at Google and Chief Product Manager at UIDAI), and Som Pal Choudhury (former Managing Director of Analog Devices, India).
Commenting on Bharat Innovation Fund’s first close, MK Raveesha, CGM, SIDBI said, “SIDBI and FFS (DIPP) are delighted to partner with the Bharat Innovation Fund to support deep-innovation driven startups. Bharat Innovation Fund is a unique partnership comprising of strategic and financial investors – and a strong experienced team. We hope to together create a breakthrough and globally competitive solutions from India”.
The fund is built on a decade-long startup engagement experience of CIIE, which has been leading accelerator programmes and seed-funds in India since 2008 – and with support from Tata Trusts.
Till date, CIIE has seeded over 200 startups across its various programs like iAccelerator, Power of Ideas, Powerstart, India Innovation Growth Program, Startup Oasis, among others. Some ventures supported by CIIE through its various initiatives in the past include Ridlr, Recruiterbox, Forus Healthcare, MechMocha, Tookitaki, and Razorpay.
Bengaluru-based early-stage venture capital firm Inventus Capital Partners marked the first close of its third fund at $29 Mn (INR 200 Cr) to invest in capital-efficient startups within the business-to-business and business-to-consumer spaces.
Also, Global VC firm Lightspeed Venture Partners has closed its second India fund with a corpus of $175 Mn. Mumbai-based Artha Venture Fund also marked the first close of its $29 Mn (INR 200 Cr) seed fund, Artha Venture Fund I, at $6 Mn.
According to Inc42 DataLab’s H1 2018 tech startup funding report, there has been a sharp dip in both the number of funding deals as well as funding amount, particularly at the Seed and bridge stage, in the first half of the year. The number of seed funding deals saw a 30% decrease compared to 2017.