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

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech -

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.


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