Unitus Seed Fund (USF) today announced that it will be seeking approval from the Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to setup a new India-based venture capital fund called Unitus Seed Fund India to make seed-stage equity investments in Indian BoP Startups — startup companies which serve large low-income populations in India. USF is targeting to raise up to INR 50 crore (~USD $10 million) and is targeting the first investments to come into the fund in the 2nd half of 2013.
This announcement comes on the heals of Unitus Seed Fund’s announcements of landing $8M in capital commitments from investors earlier this year. In the past week, USF announced two new investments: skill development company iSTAR and facility management company Jack On Block. Just this week, USF was also awarded “Best Indian Investor” for 2013 by a group of leading business executives and government officials.
The new India fund will be invested side-by-side with and using the same investment strategies of Unitus Seed Fund’s offshore venture seed fund. The fund will be managed by Unitus Seed Advisors Pvt Ltd, an investment management firm based in Bangalore. The fund expects to invest in up to 40 Indian startups over the next few years.
Unitus Seed Fund India is being created to enable the growing interest from resident Indian investors for the opportunity to invest in a large number of quality startups. By investing in the fund, Indian investors have the opportunity to diversify their risk across a large portfolio of startups, some of which may fail and other which may soar. Additionally, Indian investors are able to tap the expertise of the Unitus Seed Fund investment team, a strong group of fund advisors, the larger Unitus Group which has been investing in India for a decade and a growing group of local expert Venture Advisors.
“We are excited to be setting up the first ‘impact equity’ seed fund for Indian investors,” said Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Seed Advisors Pvt Ltd. “This provides a unique new opportunity for India investors to tap into a new crop of high-growth startup companies which are serving the vast underserved market of rural and urban low-income populations in India.”
T.V. Mohandas Pai and Dr. Ranjan Pai will be two of the founding investors in Unitus Seed Fund India and have already cumulatively committed INR 10 crore (USD $2 million) to the fund corpus. This announcement was also featured in the Economic Times on April 19, 2013.