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Seed stage investor Blume Ventures to write bigger cheques from new fund

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Mumbai-based early stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures, has increased its target corpus for its second seed and pre-Series A stage fund and is also looking to stretch the investment sweet spot, Sanjay Nath, managing partner of the VC firm told Techcircle.in.

Nath said there would be a mix of foreign institutional investors and some domestic family offices and entrepreneurs backing the new fund. He declined to name them.

Blume Ventures' debut fund raised Rs 100 crore a few years ago or around $20 million back then. So the new fund would be 3x in dollar terms and 3.6x in terms of deployable cash in local currency.

So far, the VC firm has been investing $100,000-$250,000 (Rs 60 lakh to Rs 1.25 crore) in each portfolio firm, participating in seed rounds where the typical overall size (including other investors) was $300,000-500,000. It is now looking to put in more in its portfolio firms from the new fund.

Nath said in the new fund it would participate in larger seed rounds of around $500,000-$1 million.

While the company will do larger seed rounds, it will not become a traditional Series A VC, said Nath.

"We believe the India tech ecosystem is large for everyone to play, and entrepreneurs and the market win when each finds its own sweet spots and plays in the sandboxes it knows best," he said.

Talking about potential exits he said that Blume may have a few potential exit options on the table in 2015-16. "If it makes financial and strategic sense for the company, customers and us (as investors), we will look at those," Nath said.

The fund, which has 60 companies in its portfolio has so far exited from two ventures. It saw its maiden exit in 2013 when Mumbai-based Spunk Media Pvt Ltd, which runs the online mobile billing aggregator Qubecell, was acquired by San Francisco-based mobile payments company Boku. In another deal last year, Little Eye Labs was acquired by Facebook. Blume invested in Little Eye Labs through GSF accelerator.

The company has built up 40 per cent of its overall Fund I portfolio from Bangalore. However, it has no immediate plans to set up an office in the city. "We will continue covering this important startup hub via dedicated visits and time spent there," said Nath.

It counts investments in names such as ZipDial, Webengage, Mobstac, Hotelogix, Mettl, Reviews42 and TaxiForSure.

Some of its portfolio companies are now backed by global and Indian VCs, including Tiger Global, Kalaari Capital, Matrix, Accel, Bessemer, Helion and Sequoia.

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(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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