Piggybank Stellaris Gets $50 m for Your Billion-dollar Idea Infosys & Sidbi are among investors who helped raise funds, which will be used in Series-A funding
A roundup of top funding deals from the startup world
Madhav Chanchani & Shashwati Shankar
Bengaluru: Software major Infosys and the country’s top lender to small businesses, Sidbi, are among investors that have helped Stellaris Venture Partners, an early-stage investment firm based in technology hotspots Bengaluru and Gurgaon, raise $50 million, the bulk of which would be deployed in Series-A funding of ideas.
“Roughly, a quarter of the fund has come from individuals, and the remainder of the money has come from a combination of highquality institutional investors and the large family offices,” said Stellaris partner Alok Goyal. Stellaris aims to cap the size of its maiden fund at $100 million, and expects to raise the rest of the money by the year-end. Venture capital (VC) firms managed to raise a record amount of capital last year despite several slowing investments and falling valuations. Led by local affiliates of Silicon Valley heavyweights, Sequoia Capital and Accel, VC funds dedicated to India raised $2.2 billion in 2016, up from $1.5 billion in the previous year, according to data from Venture Intelligence.
Furthermore, ET reported last week that IDG Ventures India is expected to make a final close of its $200 million third fund in the coming weeks. Last month, Saama Capital also mopped up $58 mil- lion for its third fund. Experts believe that while there are about a dozen VC firms focused on series-A deals in India, their number has lagged the rate of overall increase in early-stage investment activity. Most new VC firms have focused on seed-stage investments (typically ₹ 2-3 crore), creating a market for financing companies such as Stellaris that would look to invest up to $3 million upfront. The VC firm is building a network of 50 entrepreneurs and top professionals — called the founder network — to help source investments and advise portfolio companies.
“It’s relatively easy to build a micro venture capital fund than a brand new series-A fund. We have not added any new series-A funds to the market but have constantly increased the funnel at seed in terms of what companies can get,” said Karthik Reddy, cofounder of Blume Ventures. Goyal, Rahul Chowdhri and Ri- tesh Banglani — three partners at Helion Venture Partners — quit the company that was managing about $600 million to set up Stellaris. One of the Helion founders Kanwaljit Singh, who quit the firm in 2014, is also an investor in Stellaris. Among others who have bet on the firm are Aprameya Radhakrishna and Raghunandhan G, founders of TaxiForSure that was acquired by Ola and was one of Helion’s portfolio companies. Others are online lending firm Indifi founder Alok Mittal, software firm Capillary’s Aneesh Reddy and Neeraj Agarwal, India Head of the Boston Consulting Group.
Stellaris will also work closely with its strategic investors such as Infosys. “They have a deep understanding of technology and global footprint. We become their eyes on ground-level innovation and see a regular exchange of ideas,” added Goyal, who was earlier with SAP India.