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Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has given approval to Bharat Innovation Fund to operate as a Venture Capital Fund. The company has secured Category – I Venture Capital Fund status from SEBI, to run their business. According to the norms, Category-I funds also get incentives from the government and regulators.

Created by IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), Bharat Innovation Fund invests at the seed or Series A stage which includes grants and venture capital. The fund was founded to support and encourage entrepreneurs in the emerging sectors such as agriculture, health, energy as well as enterprises.They also support corporates adopting digital technologies, especially technologies related to manufacturing and design.

In August 2016, it invested an undisclosed amount in two healthtech startups MobiDent (owned and IoT-based healthcare startup Zeolr.

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The fund will continue to focus on healthcare and life-sciences, which includes biotech, medical devices energy, agriculture, environment, and water.

SEBI, which regulates market capital in India in 2014 had released a consultation paper that proposed legal, structural and regulatory framework around crowdfunding in India. In January 2015, SEBI held talks with the government to evolve guidelines on crowdfunding in a move to help startups raise funds.

Following that in June 2016, it reworked its plans for a capital-raising platforms targeted exclusively at startups. The regulatory body has considered changes to the listing framework for tech-based startups allowed them to trade publicly on regular stock exchanges.

In September 2016, it was reported that SEBI had issued an investor warning notice to equity crowdfunding platforms that aid startups. The notice questioned the legality of these platforms.

Following that in November 2016, SEBI relaxed norms for angel funding in the country.

(This development was reported by IIFL)

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