AngelList India head Utsav Somani is launching a $15 Mn micro-fund iSeed II to support 50 Indian early-stage tech startups across sectors in the next two years. Close to 60 limited partners have invested in the fund, which includes prominent India and Silicon Valley-based investors, entrepreneurs and venture capital (VC) fund managers.
Some of the names in the list include Rippling’s Prasanna Sankar, AngelList’s Naval Ravikant, wikiHow’s Jack Herrick, Freshworks’ Kiran Darisi, HotelTonight’s Sam Shank, Thumbtack’s Jonathan Swanson, Teachable’s Ankur Nagpal and TaskUs’ Bryce Maddock. Apart from this, top executives from tech companies like Xiaomi, Uber, Facebook and Google have also invested in iSeed II.
Venture capital firms Matrix Partners China, US and India as well as institutional investors such as RTP Global, FJ Labs, Tribe Capital, Hummingbird, and Kamco Jedi Fund are among the LPs as well. The fund not only offers capital, but also knowledge-sharing sessions with a designated knowledge council made up of its LPs and other industry experts. The knowledge council will include A16Z’s general partner Sriram Krishnan, Notion’s COO Akshay Kothari, Gumroad’s Sahil Sahil Lavingia and Village Global’s Anne Dwane.
Somani had closed iSeed fund I in May 2020 and it has invested in over 35 startups till date including HR management startup PagarBook, insurtech startup BimaPe, ecommerce solutions platform GoKwik, revenue-based financing platform Velocity, SMB digitisation platform FloBiz and customer onboarding platform RocketLane, among others. The fund has been co-investing with institutional investors including Sequoia Capital India and Lightspeed India Partners.
As seen in a recent Inc42 Plus ‘The Outline’, in the context of Indian startups, micro VC funds have been around for a decade now, but have only gained more prominence in recent years. According to a report by Praxis, there were 89 micro VCs in India in 2020, compared to 29 in 2014. These funds infused $346 Mn through 741 deals in 574 startups between 2014 and 2020. While a VC fund size can go up to $1 Bn, a micro-VC fund usually goes up to $20 Mn to $30 Mn.
Only last month, New Delhi-headquartered micro venture fund Eximius Ventures announced the first close of its maiden $10 Mn fund for early-stage startups in India. The fund has plans to invest in at least 25-30 emerging startups in the next three years, with deals worth around $300K per startup. Its focus sectors will be startups operating in edtech, fintech, gaming, healthtech, SaaS, and digital media. Another major micro-Vc fund in India is 100X.vc, which was setup by serial angel investor Sanjay Mehta. The fund aims to invest in over 100 startups every year.