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IIFL to raise $153M to invest in startups, VC funds

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IIFL Holdings Ltd’s (formerly India Infoline) wealth management unit, IIFL Wealth Management Ltd, is looking to raise Rs 1,000 crore ($153.4 million) to invest in startups and venture capital funds.

IIFL itself is going to invest Rs 25-50 crore in the fund christened  IIFL Seed Ventures Fund I and expects to make the first close by next month. The fund will be headed by Purvi Parkeria, who would steer the fund along with the advisory board.

Purvi joined IIFL in 2013 after stints at Morgan Stanley and Kotak Mahindra Bank in their wealth management units after having worked at Kotak Life Insurance and McKinsey in the early part of her career.

Anirudha Taparia, director and COO of IIFL Private Wealth, told VCCircle that the fund would invest in Series A and Series B rounds: “Some exposure will also be to Series C and Series D. The fund will invest in third party funds as well as direct investments into unlisted companies. A majority will be invested with third-party managers operating in seed and early stage.”

Although sector agnostic, the primary investment focus of the fund will be domestic consumption opportunities across sectors like technology and other disruptive businesses surrounding technology and logistics.

It has roped in co-founders and top executives of firms that recently sold their companies or part of their business in marquee deals, in its investment board.

These include names like Aprameya Radhakrishna, co-founder of taxi aggregator TaxiForSure that was acquired by Ola early this year; Sandeep Tandon, co-founder of online recharge platform FreeCharge that was snapped by Snapdeal and Ashutosh Taparia, joint managing director of specialty women’s healthcare company Famy Care, which sold a part of its business to Mylan.

The latest move expands IIFL’s alternative investment practice under which it is largely known as manager of realty PE funds. Last year, it had also acquired small home-grown PE firms India Alternatives and had recently named former head for Asia at private equity firm 3i Group, Anil Ahuja, as its chief investment officer for the offshore fund management unit.

Ahuja is also a part of the advisory board along with eight external members who have built, grown and exited businesses in past. All deals will pass through the advisory board.

Ahuja was already involved with IIFL’s offshore hedge fund IPEplus and will also be associated with its Asia Star Fund. He is also expected to be involved with early stage venture capital business of IIFL.

IIFL as a group joins other industry peers like Religare that has also built an exposure in the early-stage deal-making space recently.

Religare Global Asset Management (RGAM), the asset management division of Religare Enterprises, had picked a minority stake and also came as a sponsor in YourNest Angel Fund. This exposure was recently transferred to an alternative investment platform of Religare, Northgate, which largely operates as a fund of funds besides making a few direct investments in startups.

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