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Unicorn India Ventures aiming for final close of Rs100 crore fund this quarter

LiveMint logoLiveMint 04-07-2017 Kavya Kothiyal

Unicorn India Ventures will achieve the final close of its Rs100 crore fund before the end of this quarter, a co-founder at the early-stage venture capital firm said.

This is the first fund from Unicorn, founded by Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar in 2016. The company had announced the first close of Rs40 crore in January 2016. Since then, Unicorn has been making early-stage investments in start-ups in India and the UK.

“We have received commitments of Rs100 crore for the final close. We are in the process of closing the documentation for the same, which is expected to take a few weeks from now,” said Joshi, who previously headed operations at individual investor group Mumbai Angels.

Unicorn has received commitments from institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals and family offices.

“On the institutional side, we have received commitments from investors such as Small Industries Development Bank of India and Life Insurance Co. of India,” said Joshi.

Unicorn has already invested around 25% of its corpus in nine start-ups, he said. These include micro-lending platform SmartCoin, rental marketplace GrabOnRent, digital-marketing-focused artificial intelligence start-up Boxx.ai and pharmaceutical-sector-focused software-as-a-service company Pharmarack.

The venture capital firm plans to build a portfolio of around 14-15 companies. A large chunk of the corpus will be reserved for follow-on investments in its fast-growing portfolio firms.

“Up to 20% of the money raised will be used for building the portfolio, while the remaining 80% will be used for follow-on rounds. We are seeing a strong traction in several of our portfolio firms and we would like to participate in a meaningful way in their growth journey,” said Joshi, adding that he expects to invest in a total of 15 companies by the end of 2017.

In April, VLCC, the Vandana-Luthra-promoted beauty and wellness company, acquired Unicorn India’s portfolio firm Vanity Cube, The Economic Times reported on 25 April. Unicorn continues to own a stake in the company and will invest further in it, Joshi said.

Unicorn is already contemplating its second fund.

“We think we will be hitting the market again sometime next year. The second fund would be around three to four times bigger than this one,” said Joshi.

Several early-stage venture capital firms have raised capital in recent times, indicating the early stage start-up ecosystem in the country continues to see strong interest despite the slowdown in late-stage investing.

In April, the Indian Angel Network announced a Rs175 crore first close of its first early stage fund. In March, artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things-focused early-stage venture capital firm Pi Ventures announced the first close of $13 million for its nearly $30 million maiden fund.

The early-stage space has also seen the entry of new funds such as Stellaris Venture Partners, Unitary Helion and Pravega Ventures.

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