An­other Ja­pa­nese VC Looks to In­cu­bate Startup Dreams Here

The Economic Times - - Disruption: Startups & Tech - Taslima.Khan@ times­group.com

SAVED FOR IN­DIA

Ben­galuru: Amidst a ris­ing co­hort of Ja­pa­nese ven­ture cap­i­tal firms that are bullish on lap­ping up in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in In­dian star­tups is In­cu­bate Fund which started op­er­a­tions in In­dia mid last year. The in­vest­ment firm plans to step up in­vest­ment ac­tiv­ity this year with 10 to 12 more in­vest­ments in the next 10 months, con­firmed Nao Mu­rakami, Gen­eral Part­ner, In­cu­bate Fund In­dia. Mu­rakami has met over 500 star­tups over the last few months since the fund was launched in In­dia in May 2016.

In­cu­bate in­vests out of a $5-mil­lion in­vest­ment ve­hi­cle set up specif­i­cally for In­dia in­vest­ments which is reg­is­tered as a sep­a­rate fund in Sin­ga­pore. By the end of the year, In­cu­bate may be tripling its fund size if things go as planned. “We are bullish on the In­dia mar­ket, so most likely, later this year we will raise a big­ger In­dia-fo­cussed cor­pus of around $15-20 mil­lion. We are dis­cussing this in­ter­nally,” said Mu­rakami. A part of the cor­pus of the In­dia-spe­cific fund has been con­trib­uted from the $91-mil­lion In­cu­bate Fund III, which launched in 2015 and is fo­cussed on early-stage star­tups in North Amer­ica, Ja­pan and rest of Asia.

If things go as planned, In­cu­bate may also hire a few peo­ple for its In­dia team as it ex­pands op­er­a­tions.

The fund usu­ally par­tic­i­pates in seed-stage in­vest­ments rang­ing from $200,000 to $300, 000, some­times $500,000 in star­tups and will pre­fer to co-in­vest with other In­dian VCs and an­gel in­vestors. “We have spo­ken to more than 100 peo­ple for co-in­vest­ment deals,” said Mu­rakami, who is also eye­ing deals in the range of $25,000-50,000 in star­tups which are part of the ac­cel­er­a­tion pro­gramme of Gur­gaon-based ac­cel­er­a­tor Jaarvis. So far, In­cu­bate, which keeps re­vis­ing its fo­cus on sec­tors and busi­ness mod­els from time to time, has made three in­vest­ments in In­dia out of which one was a bridge round in In­dorep-based B2B FMCG plat­form ShopKi­rana, an­other startup is still in the stealth mode and one has still not been dis­closed.

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