When entire country including the government departments and large industry conglomerates are lapping up startups, India’s IT services companies are jumping in this bandwagon. Bangalore-based IT outsourcing major, Infosys, took another step forward with its latest investment in early stage VC Vertex.
While the details are not disclosed, it is their first investment in a venture capital firm. Palo Alto-based Vertex Ventures is said to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Temasek Holdings , has already secured around $107 Mn funding from other three investors. It started early this year by Jonathan Heilige, former VP Infrastructure and tech operations at Facebook and In Sik Rheen, former managing partner at Rembrandt Venture Partners and a Venture Partner at Accel Partners.
Infosys Innovation fund was started in 2015, with a corpus of $500 Mn. It typically invests in early stage (typically Series A or B, occasionally seed) with a product-market fit. It has been only last year, after Vishal Sikka, former SAP CTO, came on board as CEO and MD at Infosys that the company embraced the startup ecosystem. Vishal got his former colleges from SAP, Yusuf Bashir to lead the fund here. This is extension of the $100 Mn innovation fund that Infosys has announced in 2014.
Prior to this, Infosys Fund has invested in Airviz, Ansr Consulting with investment of $1.4 Mn for a 5% stake and Nova, a spin-off unit of Dreamworks Animation where it invested $15 Mn. Apart from this, the IT behemoth acquired Panaya and digital commerce firm Skava investing over $30 Mn.
Airviz a spinoff from the CREATE Lab at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute. Its product Speck is a air particulate sensor and can detect PM2.5 particles and provide insightful analytics on air quality.
ANSR Consulting provides strategy and implementation services to help global companies establish Global In-House Centers (GICs) in India and Nova provides image generation capabilities (platform and toolset) as a service.
Infosys rival Wipro technologies has also incubated a few startups under Rishad Premji. It has also set aside an initial corpus of $100 Mn incubation fund. Tech Mahindra and Persistent Systems has also created a separate fund of $100 Mn and $10 Mn, respectively.
India’s leading IT firm, TCS started >Co-innovation fund (COIN)to incubate and invest in startups. It is already partnered with venture capitalists like the US-based Andreessen Horowitz, Sierra Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Norwest Venture Partners. The others are Finland-based Conor and Israel based Jerusalem Venture Partners.
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