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Michael & Susan Dell Foundation earmarks $50M for early-stage ventures

MSDFGlobal philanthropic organisation Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) has earmarked an additional $50 million (about Rs 333 crore) for investments in India.

Quoting Debasish Mitter, country director – India, MSDF, The Economic Times reported that the fund will be utilised to make direct investments in early-stage startups in India over the next three years.

Queries sent by Techcircle.in to MSDF did not elicit any response till the time of filing this report.

Mitter said the additional fund was allocated as the organisation observed that the venture capital space as a whole, and startups in areas of its interest especially, are struggling to raise funds. He said that MSDF will increase its offerings which currently include grants, equity financing, debt and non-convertible debt offerings.

The amount is an addition to its existing early stage impact investment fund India Educational Investment Fund (IEIF).

IEIF supports early-stage investment in education startups that supports urban, low-income families in India. In 2015, IEIF invested an undisclosed amount in two Indian education technology startups: Report Bee Edusys Pvt Ltd, a cloud-based deep learning platform and Guru-G Learning Labs (India) Pvt. Ltd, a gamified platform for teachers.

Started in 1999 by Michael Dell, MSDF invests in companies in the US, South Africa and India.

In November 2015, iSTAR Skill Development Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based vocational skills training provider, raised Rs 10 crore ($1.5 million) in Series A round of funding led by MSDF. Social enterprise incubator Villgro Innovations had also raised Rs 20 crore (over $3.2 million) from MSDF in 2015 for incubating and funding education startups.

MSDF’s most recent investment in India was in Bangalore-based Oliveboard Comptech Pvt Ltd, which operates online test preparation platform Oliveboard.

MSDF had led a Rs 33.1 crore (around $5 million) round of funding in Delhi-based test prep startup Avanti Learning Centres in February this year.

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