There has, perhaps, never been a better time to become an entrepreneur in India than now, given the availability of abundant early-stage capital and easy access to hundreds of angel investors, mentors and advisors. You know the familiar names in the early-stage investment scene in India, such as Sequoia Capital, Blume Ventures, Seedfund, Indian Angel Network, Mumbai Angels and so on. Techcircle.in brings to you a new crop of 10 early-stage investors who have started investing in India recently (the list is strictly in alphabetical order):
Aarin Capital Partners
Aarin Capital Partners is a venture capital fund founded this year by former Infosys director TV Mohandas Pai and Manipal Education and Medical Group CEO Ranjan Ramdas Pai (they are not related). The fund has invested in Delhi-based biopharmaceutical company Vyome Biosciences Pvt Ltd, California-based medical technology company Insightra and in Bookadda.com. The fund, reportedly with a corpus of $100 million, focuses on innovative play in healthcare, life sciences and technology space, and targets businesses pursuing large market opportunities. They can write large cheques as well.
Bangalore-based AngelPrime is a seed capital firm founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneurs Shripati Acharya, Bala Parthasarathy and Sanjay Swamy. It provides startup capital to companies operating in India and seeks to invest in mobile payment, e-commerce and smartphone application services sectors. AngelPrime typically invests a maximum of $1 million in its portfolio companies. Its investments include mobile payments company Ezetap and kids’ wear e-commerce startup Unamia.
Das Star Ventures
Founded by entrepreneur-turned-investor Durga Das in 2011, this US-based early-stage fund has strong focus on entertainment and technology. Besides one recent investment in the digital animation company Side FX Entertainment, it has also acquired a controlling stake in Supra Energy, a sustainable energy solutions provider.
Mumbai-based VC fund Freemont Partners Pvt Ltd focuses on technology-driven startups and provides mentorship, strategic direction and access to local and global CXO mentors and partners. It invests up to $1 million in each startup and has a partnership with Mumbai Angels as well. Its maiden investment has been in Happy Earth Lifestyle Solutions that operates the e-commerce site NaturalMantra.com which sells natural and organic personal care products. Freemont also acts as a global incubator and accelerator.
Headquartered in California, this seed fund and incubator provides early-stage capital to companies developing infrastructure, hardware, software and platforms in education industry. The startups, upon joining Imagine K12, have to spend 3 months in the Silicon Valley. One of its Indian investments is Nunook Interactive Pvt Ltd that develops, publishes and markets interactive games.
Regard Venture Solutions
A US-based venture capital fund, Regard provides seed stage human capital to software startups. It focuses on growth-stage technology companies who either need to transform ideas into working proof of concept or need to develop software products for angel or VC investment considerations. Regard has invested in LuxeYard India, a venture formed by serial entrepreneur Sashi Chimala in partnership with US-based LuxeYard Inc. (a member-only flash retail site selling horizontal niche items such as exclusive home décor, furnishing and fashion products).
A Hyderabad-based seed stage venture capital fund, SRI incubates startups and invests into companies operating in India and the US. It focuses on the technology space and typically puts in $0.1-0.2 million in Indian firms and $0.2-0.5 million in US companies. SRI Capital was founded by serial entrepreneur Sashi Reddi and its investments include e-commerce platform Shopo.in, education services startup Edutor Technologies and fast food chain Big Dosa, among others.
TekCorp is a VC firm that not only funds entrepreneurs but also assists them in crucial areas like re-writing business plans, building & optimising websites, implementing enterprise-level software, handling infrastructure services and more. Interestingly, it started as a technology company and now focuses on investing in early-stage tech startups across the US and the Asia-Pacific region. A couple of its investments have been into gifting portal Giftcart Ecommerce Pvt Ltd and business & technology consulting company Virtuos Solutions Pvt Ltd.
A private equity fund set up by Indian film producer Ronnie Screwvala, it focuses on agriculture, healthcare, education and e-commerce domains. The fund has invested in employment portal OnContract.com and InI Farms Pvt Ltd, which specialises in modern horticulture and exports the produce.
Set up in 2006 by, this early-stage PE fund-cum-incubator has $70 million assets under management and funds small-to-mid-sized companies in India, Europe and the US. Focus sectors include telecom, IT, media and entertainment, and Veddis typically invests $0.25-$5 million. Veddis was founded by Vikrant Bhargava, an IIT Delhi alumnus, who was also the co-founder of PartyGaming Plc. It has recently incubated two startups here – Favista, a real estate brokerage firm providing end-to-end property solutions, and Rovolt, an entertainment company that creates graphic novels, comic books, mobile apps and animated videos.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)