In first of its kind in India, two women investors teamed up to start a woman-only investment fund SAHA Fund. It would have a corpus of $15 Mn with bucketed investments ranging from $900K to $2 Mn per venture.
The fund will invest in startups founded by women entrepreneurs, or employing more that 50% woman in team or working on a product and service for women. It plans to invest in companies across ecommerce, social media, mobile, cloud, analytics, education, analytics, healthcare, food tech and tech platforms that would leverage digital.
The fund is co-founded by Ankita Vashisth and Usha Amin. Ankita bring vast experience with venture firms, with her stint at Indian Angel Network. Prior to which she was heading Tholons-Bangalore-based research and consulting firm, as MD.
SAHA has already made some investments, these include Kaaryah, Fitternity, Stelea Technologies and Joulestowatts. Kaaryah is apparel portal for woman, providing upto 18 sizes to fit started by Nidhi Agarwal in 2013. Fitternity is fitness discovery and accessory buying online platform started by Neha Motwani. It covers Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. Stelea Technologies is a cloud-based company started by Aruna Schwarz. And lastly, JoulestoWatts is a IT solutions firm started by Priti Sawant.
Industry veterans like Kiran Majumdar Shaw, chairman and MD at Biocon, Mohandas Pai, Chairman at Manipal Education and Avinash Vashistha, past chairman and MD at Accenture India, has also invested in the fund as limited partners.
Interestingly, Saha Fund has formed a ‘Mentors Circle’ wherein industry thought leaders would provide their valuable guidance and to the women entrepreneurs. So even if they are not investing in the company, they could add value to the startups by creating equity.
Amidst all the startup stories led by men, we do have a few women entrepreneurs who have reached to the pinnacle in their space. Like Swati Bhargava founder and CEO at Cashkaro; Richa Kar , founder and ceo at online lingerie shopping store, Zivame.com; Suchi Mukherjee, Founder and CEO of ecommerce marketplace Limeroad.com; Bhawna Agarwal, who is in advisory role at Venture fund and also founded Luxury Retail Services. Anisha Singh founded discount coupon portal, Mydala and Falguni Nayar, former MD Of Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, who founded online cosmetic buying portal, Nykaa.
This is however, not the only fund dedicated to woman. Google India, MD, Rajan Anandan’s investments has women-led startups dominating his portfolio. A few of his investments include Socialcops, Cardback, Culture Alley, Phantom Hands, Mojjie and PopXO. Even Anu Duggal, founded FemaleFoundedFund or F Cubed to invest venture started by woman.
We also have funds started by woman at the helm like Kalaari Capital and Sol Primero. Vani Kola is the leading lady at Kalaari Capital, is also serving as the CEO at the IndoUS Venture Partners. Her investment portfolio includes Snapdeal, Myntra, VIA, Apps Daily, Urban Ladder, Zivame, Power2SME and Bluestone.
Sol Primero was started by Presha Paragash and Shweta Singh. The fund has invested in Cubito, Curofy, Justride, Ridingo, Smart Pocket and Zostel.
This is a welcomed move, while the industry is facing the issue of gender inequality. According to SEBI guidelines, every company is supposed to have at least woman director on board. However, according to an article, despite the mandate, till early 2014 more than 900 companies of the 1,478 listed on the National Stock Exchange failed to meet the condition.
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