Another Japanese VC Looks to Incubate Startup Dreams Here
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.