Hyderabad-based Utthishta Management Advisors LLP is raising its debut fund targeting Rs 50 crore ($9.2 million), to invest in technology startups across the country. Utthishta Yekum Fund, a seed fund registered with SEBI, has the option to raise another Rs 20 crore, taking the total to Rs 70 crore.
The new fund is being anchored by M Prabhakar Rao, chairman of Nuziveedu Group which has interest in agriculture, renewable energy, real estate, textile and sugar, a top company executive told Techcircle.in.
Utthishta, which works as an incubator-cum-accelerator, will focus on startups in software, web, mobile and the cloud computing space. It is led by Mohsin Khan and Rama Krishna.
Khan was earlier a manager with General Motors and then set up India offshore operations of the US-based insurance company Conseco. Krishna was earlier with the auditing major PwC where he advised clients on fundraising, among other initiatives.
“A good portion of IT companies in India have been working on services model which is now mature and will eventually face inflationary pressure and other cost increase. Sustainability of the business over the next decade will be tough and entrepreneurs need to be innovative to create a different set of companies which would leverage the talent pool in IT,” Khan told Techcircle.in.
“We will focus on very early-stage startups, even where the idea/product/website has one customer,” he said, adding that the preference will be for a team of 2-3 co-founders but it will also look at startups with solo founders.
Utthishta is currently screening startups for its first batch and claims to have 400 applications for the same. It has selected 15 startups for its investment committee, out of which shortlisted startups will get Rs 10 lakh each.
Utthishta will host two batches of 10-15 startups every year, which will attend a four-month programme. It will also provide office space; legal, accounting and company setup advice; and mentoring during this period. Finally, there will be a demo day for startups to pitch their businesses to venture capitalists and angel investors.
Utthishta comes at a time when a number of accelerators/incubators like VentureNursery (backed by Fame Cinemas founder Shravan Shroff and Starcom MediaVest Group executive Ravi Kiran), The Hatch, Srijan Capital, AngelPrime and Morpheus Venture Partners have also come up and made their presence felt in the Indian startup ecosystem.
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(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)