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Unicorn floats early-stage tech fund


Early stage investment focused firm Unicorn India Ventures has launched its maiden fund worth Rs 150 crore ($23 million) and is expected to reach its first close of Rs 60 crore by mid-September, a senior executive told VCCircle.

“We want to build a portfolio of 30 companies with this fund,” said Bhaskar Majumdar, co-founder and partner at Unicorn India Ventures.

The fund will be investing between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 75 lakh across startups at seed stage. “We will invest further in companies in the follow on rounds once they pass a certain growth criteria,” he said. The fund prefers to be the first investor but will invest at Series A level. The firm will be picking up between 15 per cent and 20 per cent across its portfolio companies.

The first close will be achieved purely through fundraising by high net-worth individuals (HNIs) though it expects some Indian financial institutions and other venture capital firms also to park in some money with the fund.

The investor would target e-commerce enablers, cloud-based B2C or B2B delivery models, SaaS and Big Data. Unicorn India Ventures has already finalised term sheets with four firms.

“We will have a substantial B2B play which is not the flavour of the month now but it has a good story,” Majumdar said. The fund has four special advisors on board that include Bharat Banka, former CEO of Aditya Birla Private Equity; Manish Choudhary, member of Global Strategy team for Pitney Bowes; DD Ganguly, a serial software entrepreneur; and Shashikant Chowdhary, managing director – India for GlobalLogic.

The firm is currently looking to add two more people to its existing team of four.

Unicorn India Ventures was founded by Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar early this year. Prior to launching this fund, Joshi was heading operations at Mumbai Angels and Bangalore Angels. He has also held several portfolios at companies including Century Rayon, BK Birla Group Company and Transasia Biomedical Ltd and headed new projects and investment in startups with telecom, IT and energy-focused Artheon Group.

Majumdar has held senior corporate positions with Times Group, Zee Telefilms and Altavista UK. In 2000, he started his entrepreneurial venture with digital media company Recreate Solutions which was later sold to a US systems integrator. Majumdar graduated from IIT Kharagpur and is also a Harvard alumnus.

The two partners have invested across various startups in their personal capacity. They include Hotelogix, SheSaidBeauty, Karmic Lifesciences, Exotel and CarveNiche Technologies.

At least 15 India-focused early stage funds have launched or raised funding in 2015, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle. These include Kalaari Capital, Lightspeed India Partners, Helion Venture Partners, Orios Venture Partners and Peesh Venture Capital.

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