Kalaari Capital, a new entity formed by the founders of Indo US Venture Partners (IUVP), has raised an investment fund worth $150 million for the Indian market. Though the investment strategy of IUVP fund and Kalaari will be similar, this is a rebranding for IUVP which would help it to bring in fresh ideas and focus on the Indian market, said Vani Kola, managing director, Kalaari Capital Advisors.
The firm also said that it has invested in HandsFree Networks Inc., a US-based provider of automated technical support with offices in Bangalore. According to US SEC filings, HandsFree raised $4 million from a single investor earlier this year.
The rebranding comes as US-based New Enterprise Associates (NEA), which the team had partnered for the first fund (which was called NEA IndoUS Venture Partners), is not associated with the second fund. NEA had partnered with the first fund as it did not have a direct presence in India, but has since set up offices in the country. Another change is that Vinod Dham, who had led the first fund and is well-known for developing Intel's Pentium microprocessor, will not be involved in the new fund.
"IUVP will continue to function as it is and will be working with the companies it has already invested in. IUVP had invested over a $100 million in 35 companies in the last five years. Similarly, we plan to invest Kalaari's fund of $150 million over the next four to five years in India," said Kola. The founders of Kalaari are Vani Kola, Kumar Shiralagi and Rajesh Raju.
Vani and Kumar are the continuing partners from IUVP and are associated with marquee venture investments such as Snapdeal, VIA, Attero, Microqual, Myntra, Medplus, Apalya. Raju is the new partner who joined IndoUS after working as an investment director at private equity firm Peepul Capital for five years.
Kumar Shiralagi, managing director at Kalaari noted, "We have been attracted to invest in technology companies always and would continue to do so. Whether it be software products and services, e-commerce, mobile and telecom Services, education, healthcare, media and clean tech—all are hot sectors within technology."
IUVP and Kalaari both believe in investing in early-stage companies. "In the time of slowdown, only entrepreneurs who have a long-term plan would think of a startup and we want to back them with enough funding." Vani said.
Most investments by Kalaari too are in companies that are less than three years old and have received little or no prior institutional funding. Thus, they require capital in the range of $1million to $5million.
Kalaari Capital had already started investing in companies last year. About $40-$60 million has been invested in companies such as Hands Free Networks, Lapis, Magzter, Mettl, Simplilearn, Urban Ladder, Vyome, Zivame.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)