Wipro Enterprises’ FMCG brand, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, has allocated INR 200 Cr ($28 Mn) to its venture fund — Wipro Consumer Care-Ventures. The fund will be used to invest in startups from the consumer brands space from India and Southeast Asia, according to a media report.
Wipro Consumer Care-Ventures will be investing in about three to four startups a year. The venture fund CEO Vineet Agarwal reportedly said, “potential of the startup and Wipro’s ability to add value are the two main criteria they are looking at. A startup is coming to us because they can get more than what a regular financer can offer.”
Its focus categories in the consumer brands space will include personal care, skincare, home care, and lighting. Further, it will also look at digital startups which are adopting an innovative ways to reach customers, the report added.
The company had invested in Happily Unmarried in 2017. Happily Unmarried is an ecommerce brand which sells men and women grooming products under the brands Ustraa and Happily Unmarried respectively.
“Our investment in Happily Unmarried was our first step to establishing this venture capital fund. Apart from financial capital, what we bring to the table is deep knowledge of operations and the ability to scale up, and a strong understanding of consumers in India and South East Asia markets. These would support startups in their endeavour to grow rapidly”, Sumit Keshan, managing partner, Wipro Consumer Care Ventures had earlier said.
Corporate-Led Venture Funds
Similar to Wipro, many other corporates have also taken the venture fund route to support the startup ecosystem. Some examples of this include Google, Walmart, Alibaba, Microsoft, Reliance, Hero Group, and Times Internet.
Earlier in July, South Korean technology giant Samsung has also started a new growth plan in India with its venture capital arm, Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC). SVIC was reported to actively invest in future-oriented businesses based on new and innovative technologies that are expected to serve as new growth engines.
Also in February, Indian FMCG major Britannia announced its plans to set up a separate entity and team over the next six months to invest in startups across categories and platforms.
Further in January, Microsoft too launched its corporate venture fund M12 in India. M12 announced that it will be extending its investing coverage to India to help entrepreneurs innovate and grow with Microsoft’s reach, expertise, and technologies.