Headquartered jointly in Mumbai and Singapore, the fund is expected to invest $10-15 Mn funds in tech businesses.
In February 2016, Ratan Tata’s investment firm, RNT Associates, partnered with the University of California (UC Investments) to jointly fund startups over the next 10 years in India.
As per sources close to the development, the fund has already held discussions with mobile advertising platform InMobi and logistics startup Qikpod, along with two US-based companies for potential investments.
“The financing round at InMobi is still to be finalised but the other three investments (including QikPod), are likely to close soon,” a source told TOI, on condition of anonymity .
According to sources, the core team now involves Mathias Imbach, who is based in Singapore and works with RNT Associates. Tim Recker (Managing Director, Private Equity and Real Assets at University of California Regents) is looking at the investments from the University’s side. Mayank Singhal, a former associate director at Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings’ Indian unit, too has joined the team. Singhal would be leading the India investments while Imbach, who has been with RNT Associates since last year, will look to build the fund’s presence in Southeast Asia.
Qikpod, was founded by serial entrepreneur and one of the most well-known faces of the Indian startup ecosystem, Ravi Gururaj.
Launched last November, QikPod raised $9 Mn in seed funding from Accel Partners, Flipkart, Delhivery and Foxconn Mobile, making it one of the largest Seed rounds raised in India. Initially starting in Bangalore, Ravi plans to build the world’s largest parcel locker network with over 50,000 lockers across all major metro cities in India.
In May 2016, QikPod landed in trouble with a fallout between Ravi and Neeraj Ray, who was being considered for a role in the startup, over ownership issues. Neeraj filed an injunction suit against Qikpod, accusing Ravi of not giving him the promised equity in the startup.
On the other hand, Bengaluru-based mobile advertising platform, InMobi, has been struggling to raise funds and chart out a sustainable business model. According to a company statement, it has strategic business plans for 2016, and is focussed on driving growth & profitability in key markets. Earlier this year, the company’s co-founder Naveen Tewari said that his startup is not up for sale and is aiming for an IPO.
However in June 2016, InMobi landed in legal trouble, when The Federal Trade Commission fined $950,000 in civil penalties on charges of deceptively tracking the locations of its consumers, including children, without their knowledge or consent to serve them geo-targeted advertising.