Call Neo! Ma­trix In­dia has .₹ 730 crore More

A roundup of the top fund­ing sto­ries from the startup world Money to boost cor­pus of sec­ond fund; Co­founder Rishi Na­vani to leave the ven­ture firm

The Economic Times - - Disruption: - Mad­hav.Chan­chani @times­group.com

Ben­galuru: Ven­ture firm Ma­trix Part­ners In­dia, an early in­vestor in ride hail­ing app Ola and classifieds por­tal Quikr, has raised a fur­ther .₹ 730 crore or $110 mil­lion to boost the cor­pus of its sec­ond fund. The fund raise comes at a time when a co­founder Rishi Na­vani is leav­ing the firm, which will now be man­aged by co­founder Avnish Ba­jaj along with man­ag­ing di­rec­tors Vikram Vaidyanathan and Tarun Davda.

The firm will now have a to­tal cor­pus of about $400 mil­lion in its sec­ond fund, which was first set up in 2011. The ad­di­tional cor­pus has been raised from ex­ist­ing in­vestors or limited part­ners who pro­vide the cap­i­tal in­vested by ven­ture firms. “The rea­son why we are not rais­ing a full-fledged fund right now is be­cause we are more fo­cused right now on ex­its,” said Ba­jaj who ex­pects his fund to raise a third fund in the sec­ond half of 2017.

Ba­jaj, a Har­vard Busi­ness School alum­nus who co­founded one of In­dia’s ear­li­est ecom­merce ven­tures — Baazee.com, set up Ma­trix Part­ners in 2006 along with Na­vani. The de­ci­sion to part was am­i­ca­ble, ac­cord­ing to Ba­jaj. Na­vani will con­tinue to work with sev­eral port­fo­lio com­pa­nies of Ma­trix Part­ners, even af­ter he moves out to set up a late-stage and pub­lic mar­kets-fo­cused in­vest­ment fund. Ma­trix aims to in­vest across seed and Se­ries-A deals while be­ing se­lec­tive about putting money in later-stage com­pa­nies. It will tar­get ar­eas like on­line mar­ket­places, fi­nan­cial tech­nol­ogy, soft­ware, lo­gis­tics

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and health­care tech­nol­ogy, among oth­ers. Peo­ple in the know said Na­vani is likely to set up a new in­vest­ment firm, which will fo­cus on growth-stage in­vest­ment in tech com­pa­nies and, also in­vest in the pub­lic mar­kets. A vet­eran with two decades of ex­pe­ri­ence in ven­ture cap­i­tal and pri­vate equity, he has worked at firms like Chase Cap­i­tal Part­ners and WestBridge Cap­i­tal. Na­vani did not com­ment for this story. How­ever, he con­firmed his plans to leave Ma­trix but de­clined to pro­vide de­tails of his new firm. In its early years, Ma­trix Part­ners fo­cused pri­mar­ily on non-tech in­vest­ments, as did peers from Sil­i­con Val­ley, as in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion in In­dia was low. The ven­ture cap­i­tal firm in­vested in fi­nan­cial ser­vices, re­tail chains and health­care de­liv­ery com­pa­nies, where it backed half a dozen com­pa­nies. But in the last four years or so, the fo­cus has moved to consumer in­ter­net and tech­nol­ogy deals. “We will con­tinue our consumer and health­care in­vest­ment fran­chisees go­ing for­ward as well, but with a tech­nol­ogy an­gle,” said Ba­jaj.

LEAD­ING FROM THE FRONT (From left to right) Vikram Vaidyanathan, Avnish Ba­jaj and Tarun Davda

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