Nilekani, Aggarwal float $100 million fund

Nilekani Helion's Sanjeev Aggarwal to float $100-mn VC fund
Tech veterans set up $100M fund to turn India's top startups into unicorns
Author

04 July, 2017

Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and Helion's senior managing director Sanjeev Aggarwal have launched a $100-million fund for budding entrepreneurs. While new tech ventures have found plenty of takers, funding has dried up for these ventures at later stages since the end of 2015.

Two Indian technology veterans have set up a new fund that they hope will help the county churn out world-class, billion dollar startups. The fund has a corpus of $100 Mn. However, it may be extended to $200 million subject to the entry of institutional investors. With Fundamentum, Nilekani will institutionalise his investments through a venture capital firm.

Going forward, Nilekani will not invest in start-ups any more as Fundamentum will be the sole platform to engage with the start-up world.

Over the life cycle of the fund, Fundamentum will look to back about 10-15 start-ups.

Fundamentum aims to invest in consumer technology businesses, particularly ventures that are solving unique Indian problems, according to an official statement.

Fundamentum will invest in only about two to three startups in a year, ranging from $10 million to $25 million, and will mainly focus on consumer tech as well as entreprise technology startups serving global companies.

The $100-million fund will cater to customer-focused startups where the product-market fit has already been established.

Commenting on the launch, Nandan Nilekani said, "I have thoroughly enjoyed looking at how Indian entrepreneurs identify original Indian problems and then solve these with the application of technology". In the last three years I've experienced working with start-ups and I've made investments-one thing that struck me was that while there was a lot of start-up activity, what we really need is scale-up where people are focused on building companies for the long term. In a marked departure from the industry practice, Nilekani and Aggarwal will not charge management fee to the fund.

Fundamentum's team will assist portfolio founders in areas such as leadership and organisation development, building scalable technology architecture and navigating inflexion points and their acquisition strategy.

In an interview with The Economic Times, Nilekani said, "I will not make any more investments as an angel but I will continue in my current investments".

"While India has earned recognition as a startup nation, it is as yet an unproven scale up nation", said Aggarwal. "Ten years ago, with Helion, the attempt was to participate in creating a "startup" ecosystem in India".

Other names such as Stayglad co-founder Prateek Jain, serial entrepreneur Ashish Kumar, Sanjay Purohit who worked on the Tata Business Excellence Model as well as BigBasket's HR Head TN Hari are part of the Fundamentum advisory team.


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