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Meta Partners VC Fund Kalaari Capital To Help Scale Indian Startups

Meta Partners VC Fund Kalaari Capital To Help Scale Indian Startups

The association is a part of Meta’s 'VC Brand Incubator Initiative' for the development of micro, small and medium businesses (MSMEs) in India

On this, Vani Kola, founder of Kalaari Capital, said that as startups scale up, they require various tools and platforms such as Meta to boost their growth

With this partnership, startups from edtech, social commerce, gaming, fintech and other emerging sectors will be participating in the Meta’s initiative

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (previously known as Facebook) has partnered with VC fund Kalaari Capital to help Indian businesses scale via business skilling support. 

The association is a part of Meta’s ‘VC Brand Incubator Initiative’ for the development of micro, small and medium businesses (MSMEs) in India. 

Ajit Mohan, VP and MD at Meta in India, said, “As part of this initiative, Meta has partnered with India’s largest VC funds. We are thrilled to now partner with Kalaari Capital that has been instrumental in the growth journey of many startups.” 

In the past few years, Meta has partnered with 16 VC funds including Sequoia Capital, Fireside Ventures, Elevation Capital, Anthill Ventures, Stellaris Ventures, and DSG Consumer Partners, among others. It also mentored as well as skilled over 500 small businesses. 

On this, Vani Kola, founder of Kalaari Capital, said that as startups scale up, they require various tools and platforms such as Meta to boost their growth. 

It was also reported that with this partnership, startups from edtech, social commerce, gaming, fintech and other emerging sectors will be participating in the Meta’ initiative. 

Founded in 2011, the Bengaluru-based venture capital company Kalaari Capital primarily focuses on tech startups. The venture capital company invests in early stage and growth stage startups. Some of its recent bets are healthtech startup Phable, which raised $24.5 Mn; adtech startup Zocket, which raised $3 Mn; and B2B agritech startup AGRIM, which raised $10 Mn. 

Kalaari Capital has been majorly backed by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries. In the previous year, Kalaari onboarded Reliance Industries as its anchor limited partner for its fourth fund. 

As per Inc42 report, Reliance Industries committed to infuse $200 Mn in Kalaari Capital as well as other Indian startups. It is also reported that Reliance had infused $100 Mn in Kalaari Capital until 2021 and would infuse a tranche of $100 Mn by this year (2022). 

To date, Reliance has acquired five portfolio companies of Kalaari – edtech startup Embibe in 2018, online lingerie startup Zivame in 2020, AI-enabled chatbot startup Haptik in 2019 , online furniture startup Urban Ladder in 2020 and hyperlocal delivery startup MilkBasket in 2021

Controversy Surrounding MilkBasket’s Acquisition 

In 2020, Kalaari Capital, which was one of the shareholders of MilkBasket, sold its 15.26% stake to MN Televentures for INR 60 Cr. The deal was struck without the consent of other board members.  

It was reported that Kalaari Capital refused to sell its stakes to MilkBasket’s founders for INR 70 Cr but accepted MN Televentures’ offer. 

Later, the board of MilkBasket opposed this share transfer as it was done without its approval. 

Following this, MN Televentures dragged MilkBasket to NCLT for not delivering certificates of securities allocated to it and also, refusing to register the share transfer. By doing so, MilkBasket was breaching Sections 56 and 58 of the Companies Act 2013, according to MN Televentures.  

Interestingly, MN Televentures is being led by Mahendra Nahata, who is MD of Himachal Futuristic Communications and a board director of Reliance Jio Infocomm.

During months-long legal battle, MilkBasket got into discussions with various companies such as BigBasket, Amazon, and Swiggy. However, the startup ended up getting acquired by Reliance Industries’ Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd for about $40 Mn. 

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