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IFC Invests $3 Mn In AI Focused Fund Pi Ventures

IFC Invests $3 Mn In AI Focused Fund Pi Ventures

Early-stage venture fund pi Ventures has raised $3 Mn from International Finance Corporation (IFC), a part of the World Bank Group.

In March 2017, pi Ventures secured an undisclosed amount of investment from venture capital fund Accel Partners. At the time, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) had proposed to make an equity investment of $3 Mn in the fund.

The fund will be utilised for investing in companies leveraging technologies such as applied artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and IoT across a range of sectors.

Commenting on the funding, Ruchira Shukla, Regional Lead, Venture Capital, South Asia, IFC said, “This investment is aligned with IFC’s objective to act as a catalyst to spur entrepreneurial activity and support technology startups that drive innovation in India and globally and solve complex problems across industries.”

Pi Ventures was founded in mid-2016 by Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni.  It is an applied artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT)- focussed early-stage venture fund.

IFC will be making the investments through the ‘IFC Startup Catalyst programme.’ Through the programme, IFC aims to invest in sustainable seed-stage funding mechanisms, including accelerators and seed funds, for supporting early-stage entrepreneurship globally.

Manish Singhal, Founding Partner, pi Ventures said, “Getting IFC to back us in our journey is very meaningful to us. Not only do they bring a wealth of knowledge but also a world-wide network which can be very useful for our investee companies.”

In March 2017, pi Ventures announced the first close of its maiden fund at $13 Mn. The $30 Mn fund is expected to close within this year. Its partners include the SIDBI, prominent family offices from the US, Canada, Singapore, and India and leading entrepreneurs like Mohandas Pai, Binny Bansal, Deep Kalra, Sanjeev Bikchandani and Bhupen Shah among others.

In December 2016, it invested in Bengaluru-based medical grade wearable device startup, ten3T. In February 2017, Gurugram-based IoT startup Zenatix Solutions, raised about $1 Mn Pre-Series A funding led by pi Ventures. Later that month, it also invested in Bengaluru-based medical tech startup, SigTuple.

In April 2017, Bengaluru-based AI startup NIRAMAI Health Analytix raised undisclosed funding in a Seed round led by pi Ventures. Ankur Capital, Axilor Ventures, 500 Startups and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal also participated in this round.

On the other hand, IFC’s focus areas in venture capital include consumer internet, edtech, healthtech, cleantech and emerging technology solutions based on data analytics and AI.

Earlier this month it was reported that Bengaluru-based venture partner firm Stellaris Venture Partners raised $10 Mn from investment firm IFC. Other investments include BigBasket, Byju’s, Portea, and Blackbuck.