Of Uni­corns, by a Uni­corn

White Uni­corn Ven­tures plans $20-mil­lion fund for early-stage cos

The Economic Times - - Disruption: - Shash­wati.Shankar @times­group.com

Ben­galuru: White Uni­corn Ven­tures plans to raise a $20mil­lion fund to in­vest in earlystage star­tups and spend up to $5 mil­lion by the end of 2016, five times as much as it did last year. “We are look­ing at for­eign part­ner­ships for the $20-mil­lion fund,” said Ro­hit Chokhani, prin­ci­pal founder of White Uni­corn Ven­tures. The com­pany is in talks with in­vestors in Ger­many and Sil­i­con Val­ley for the pur­pose, Chokhani said. “Fifty per cent of the fund al­lo­ca­tion will fo­cus on cross-bor­der deals while the re­main­ing amount will largely fo­cus on real-es­tate tech star­tups in In­dia,” he said. The com­pany com­prises four as­so­ci­ates and 20 in­di­vid­ual in­vestors. How­ever, for the $20mil­lion fund, it plans to raise money from in­de­pen­dent in­sti­tu­tions in­stead of high net­worth in­di­vid­u­als. Chokhani said the com­pany’s plans to spend $5 mil­lion this year are sec­tor ag­nos­tic, in­volv­ing “any­thing from trans­porta­tion and travel to B2B mar­ket­pla- ces”. Half of the $20-mil­lion fund, fo­cus­ing on cross-bor­der deals, will be for the ven­ture fund’s ex­ist­ing port­fo­lio star­tups to ex­pand oper­a­tions in­ter­na­tion­ally and for Amer­i­can or Euro­pean star­tups to ac­quire In­dian star­tups or set up prod­ucts and ser­vice oper­a­tions in In­dia. While most ven­ture funds are bet­ting big on fi­nan­cial, health and ed­u­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy star­tups, White Uni­corn Ven­tures is scout­ing for early-stage busi­nesses in real es­tate tech­nol­ogy that don’t sim­ply serve as a list­ing por­tal but pro­vide an endto-end ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ence.

“The real es­tate tech sec­tor could grow to be a reg­u­lated in­dus­try…bet­ter data trans­fer, stronger pro­vi­sion of mass hous­ing, in­clu­sive of com­par­a­tively newer mod­els like peer to peer net­works for bro­kers…list­ing alone can­not be mon­e­tised,” Chokhani said.

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