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Venture Catalysts (VCats): India’s First Seed Investment & Innovation Platform For Startups

Venture Catalysts (VCats): India’s First Seed Investment & Innovation Platform For Startups

With an aim to improve the Innovation Quotient in India, Mumbai-based Venture Catalysts (VCats) has launched itself as India’s first Seed Investment & Innovation platform. The platform will provide venture fund, co-working facility, angel network and post-investment support to boost startups in their early stage of growth.

Through this platform, VCats aims to integrate all services that address startup requirements starting from source operations team, raise capital funds, look for economical office space to post-investment support like managing finance & investments, incubation, technology upgradation, team building, community, connections and much more.

Venture Catalysts (VCats) is conceptualised by Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma – ‎Former executive vice president at VentureNursery, Anil Jain – co-founder, Wallfort Financial Services Ltd, Anuj Golecha – Partner at Banshi Jain & Associates and Gaurav Jain – Former Executive, Reliance Pvt. Equity, currently perusing graduation from Stanford. The VC firm is established with an aim to revolutionise and reinvigorate the seed investment landscape in the country.

Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, co-founder at Venture Catalysts, said,

The early stage investment sector in India is unorganised and in need of an urgent revival to match with the pace at which the startup ecosystem is growing.Venture Catalysts has been launched as a pioneering attempt to revitalize the angel investment landscape by bringing HNIs to actively participate in the startup growth while at the same time also provide startups with a comprehensive umbrella network for all their venture’s requirements. Be it funding, technology, infrastructural and logistics support, mentoring, industry connections or scaling-up, VCats will provide the most tailored solutions for all startup needs with its unique, integrated, innovation-driven platform.

The VC firm is targeting $14.9 Mn (INR 100 Cr) corpus from multiple investors that will drive a seed stage investment of an average ticket size ranging from $112K (INR 75 lakhs) to $224K (INR 1.5 Cr) per venture. It plans to initially invest in about 15 to 20 startups on an annual basis.

Idea Behind VCats

According to stats,  the early stage investment industry in India is currently at a nascent stage in comparison the USA and China. The US has 3000 active angel networks with over 3 lakh angel investors driving 3000 seed investments annually, whereas China has nearly 16200 angels with an annual seed investment count standing at 2000. This in comparison to India’s early stage investment (ESI) is quite high. ESI network in India, stands at 400-500 active angels who drive a total of around 200 investments annually through various angel networks, accelerators and incubators.

This is the gap that VCats is looking to fill through its model. It plans to be a one-stop shop for startups, mentors, seed & angel investors, venture capital & private equity, investment banking services, co-working space, accelerators/incubators, oems/vendors, technology enablers, co-founders & technologists, business coaching with specialised domain expertise, startup events & media, researchers, traction & data analysts, global access & exposure, tech/business/financial audit and connections to enhance business.

The firm is also aiming to create a new league of angels comprising of seasoned investors as well as a vibrant network of high-net-worth individuals such as stockbrokers, businessmen and builders etc., who will participate in the early stage investment and contribute to a growth of the startup ecosystems in the country. Besides, it will also  incorporate a set of Angel investors, which will be called Catalysts, to enable investments and investors.

Ranjan, who has led investments in more than 10 companies with 100 Cr valuations, added that India’s seed stage investment industry is much below as compared to the global leaders, despite the country’s startup segment considered to be a high-growth proposition. He plans to have about 800-1000 active angels onboard to support budding entrepreneurs, with an aim to expand the number to 10,000+ in future.

Apoorv has also been an integral part in the establishment of several angel networks as well as early stage investment initiatives such as Indian Angel Network (IAN), Venture Nursery and Amity Incubator & Family Office Fund.

Rajan added, “As there are no Indian competitors who have the capability for the integrated, one-stop startup solutions that we offer, we have the advantage of being the pioneers of a new seed investment approach in India. This unique brand proposition is further enhanced by our extensive industry links and strong tie-ups with corporate and global accelerators. Additionally, with our dedication to add even more value for entrepreneurs, investors and all other key stakeholders, not only do we optimize investments through robust, structured programmes, but also offer technological support to our investee companies as well as other startups looking to leverage our holistic business solutions for fueling their growth.”