unicorn india ventures: Unicorn India Ventures secures Rs 225 crore for first close of its Rs 1,000 crore fund
This is UIV’s third fund. The money has been raised from a mix of existing and US-based limited partners. The final close is expected by March 2024.
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“This was the first time we have raised funds from the US and a significant portion of this close is from there,” founder and managing partner Bhaskar Majumdar told ET. “In the western markets, given the macro change about China, there are tailwinds towards India. Local American family offices who have never explored India are starting to look at the region,” he said, adding that he expects to raise half of the fund’s total corpus from the US.
These LPs will play a strategic role “in facilitating soft landing in the US for our SaaS startups,” Majumdar said.
Started in 2016 by Majumdar and Anil Joshi, the firm is a technology-focused early-stage venture fund. UIV has backed startups like Neo Bank Open (valued at more than $1 billion in 2022), on which he said the fund has clocked a nearly 100x return. Its portfolio also includes Genrobotic (winner in the Social Enterprise category of the ET Startup Awards 2021), Gamerji, ForeignAdmits, Probus, Daalchini, Esmito and Finin.
Venture capital funding in technology startups in August recorded the lowest monthly tally in total value terms, with $458 million having been deployed across 79 funding rounds, ETtech reported last month. The figure is an almost 68% plunge from the $1.4 billion that venture capital firms deployed across 263 rounds in August 2022.
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“In the early stage there has not been a slowdown, but what has happened is earlier people would come with half-baked ideas and pretty puerile processes, those have gone out of the window. Founders know that raising money is not easy, but there’s no dearth of good deals, and I think in that space deals are happening,” he said.The firm is building up its team. Bikram Mahajan has joined as a partner from Aavishkaar Capital to oversee portfolio management and Kamlesh Ahuja has been appointed as vice president of fund operations. They will also strengthen their deal sourcing team, taking the total headcount to 15 people.
“We have found our mojo by staying out of high-profile deals, going into tier-two and tier-three cities, sourcing deals which are playing a big impact within the market, but also commercially viable,” said Majumdar.
From the new fund, UIV has invested in a climate tech startup out of Odisha, he said, adding: “Because these places are not overwhelmed by bankers and VCs, our entry pricing to these deals is much better than most people.”
The company aims to deploy 20% from the new fund in 25 new startups across agritech, space tech, semiconductor and SaaS, Majumdar said. The remaining 80% will be invested in subsequent funding rounds of existing portfolio companies. The check size will vary from $1 million going up to $10-12 million in the follow-on rounds of more successful companies of the portfolio.
Three-four startups are in the funding pipeline from the new fund.
The company has returned 2x cash to the LPs within the fund life from its first fund, which was launched in 2016, he said. With two funds under management, UIV has an active portfolio of more than 35 companies.
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