One97 Mobility Fund, an early stage tech investment arm formed by One97 in association with its private equity investor SAIF Partners, has invested in 12 startups so far and is now tweaking its strategy, according to Vijay Shekhar Sharma, chairman and MD, One97.
Speaking to Techcircle.in, he said the fund has so far been investing in startups with niche products with the fund's investments ranging from ecommerce logistics company Chhotu.in to cloud telephony company Plivo. It's more recent investment includes Mobiswipe, a mobile payment solutions provider. But now it is moving away from being sector-agnostic to focusing on the mobile space.
"Earlier our strategy used to be to invest in companies or sector that we are not into, now we are tweaking that to invest in companies that operate in the same space as us," Sharma informed. He said the rationale behind this transition is that it is now looking for companies that will help them grow in the mobile space.
One97 Mobility Fund typically invests $500,000 to $5 million across seed and early stage opportunities. Out of its 12 investments, it has exited TheMobileGamer and WaveSecure which were acquired by Singtel and McAfee respectively, Sharma shared. He also informed that one more partial exit is due soon.
"We have invested about Rs 20 crore till now in our portfolio companies but as we are not a typical VC fund we don't have any specific targets for the rest in terms of amount or number of companies," Sharma added.
But how do these investments differ from One97's own investment or acquisitions?
According to Sharma the fund gives them the chance to invest in companies that they (One97) may not acquire.
Would they also be looking at furthering their average investment amount? No, Sharma clarifies. "As a company, if we don't add any value only money then it is not a valuable investment for us, we are not looking at financial exits. These are reasons why we have never looked at chipping in an institutional round and won't start now either," he added.