Mumbai-based seed investment platform Venture Catalysts has raised $500,000 (around Rs 3.4 crore) from Zaffiro Ventures.
This round puts the firm at a post-money valuation of Rs 40 crore.
The investment platform, which recently expanded its operations into Surat, will use the funds to expand its presence in five cities in 2016. It also aims to expand to five more cities in the next two years.
"The investment from Zaffiro will not only help us in expanding to multiple cities across India and promote entrepreneurship beyond the metropolitan and tier-1 geographies, but will also allow us to access industry insights and business acumen gained by individuals such as Revathi Roy and Jagdish Gothi (the two Zaffiro co-founders)," Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, co-founder, Venture Catalysts said in a statement.
The investment platform â€“ founded by Sharma, Anil Jain, Anuj Golecha, and Gaurav Jain in December 2015 â€“ invests $100,000-250,000 in very early stage startups in Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, ad-tech, virtual reality, education, e-commerce and retail space.
Venture Catalysts said it will also be looking to leverage its association with Zaffiro to mobilise local high net-worth individuals (HNIs) as mentors and investors by connecting them to global ideas developed by startups incubated by it.
The capital will also be used to diversify offerings by adding a bouquet of services such as corporate acceleration and women incubation programmes, it added.
Till now, Venture Catalysts has made seven investments with the total deal size exceeding $3 million. Its portfolio of startups includes train discovery platform ConfirmTKT , photography curation venture Siftr Labs Pvt. Ltd , data analytics firm vPhrase Analytics Solutions Pvt. Ltd , peer-to-peer lending start-up LenDenClub , driver analytics firm Vahanalytics, among others.
The company currently has strategic partnerships with Cox and Kings, HDFC and Plug and Play, among others to give its portfolio startups access to work with these partners in terms of getting guidance, investment, and auxiliary support.
The platform, which has over 600 angels as a part of its investor network, is also looking to add 100 new angels in the next few months.
Venture Catalysts is Zaffiro Ventures' first investment in the country.
Although VC firms active in the mid-to-late stage venture funding cycle have tightened their purse strings, there has been a surge in angel and seed-stage investments during the January-March quarter. According to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle, the number of angel and seed funding deals has risen by a third to 189 in Q1 CY2016 from 142 in Q1 CY2015.
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