Impact investor Ankur Capital has marked the first close of its second India-focused fund at Rs 240 crore, or approximately $34 million at current foreign exchange rates. Dubbed Ankur Capital Fund II (ACF II), the fund has a final target corpus of Rs 350 crore (about $50 million) and expects to complete fundraising later this year.
CDC Group, the UK government's development finance institution, and a number of international and domestic institutional limited partners (LPs), including existing investors such as SIDBI’s Fund of Funds for Startups and The Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) contributed to the fund.
ACF II was launched in early 2019.
“Working closely with Ankur Capital, CDC will play a key role in advancing the fund’s approach to environmental and social practices, both at the fund and portfolio level. CDC will also help strengthen the network of portfolio advisers and build further capacity in portfolio companies,” the firm said in a statement.
“Supporting the first close of ACF-II goes to the heart of how we use our capital at CDC. This fund will address United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, 1,2,3 and 4 , demonstrating our commitment to investing to support the SDGs,” Sara Taylor, director and head of catalyst funds, funds and capital partnerships at CDC said.
Ankur Capital focuses on technologies and product innovations in agriculture, food, vernacular and healthcare to create large-scale impact. With the second fund, it will expand into sectors such as fintech and edtech.
It expects to make 15-18 investments from this fund, and plans to complete 6-8 deals over the next one year.
The firm was founded in 2014 by Rema Subramanian and Ritu Verma. An alumnus of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI), Subramanian has three decades of experience in building and scaling operations across various sectors such as financial services, education, IT and packaging. Verma, who has a PhD in physics from the University of Pennsylvania, earlier worked with Unilever, Philips and Truven.
Krishnan Neelakantan, former head of CLSA India Research, was later on-boarded as a partner at the firm.
From the first fund, which closed with a corpus of Rs 50 crore, it invested in 14 companies covering sectors across agritech, food, healthcare and vernacular technologies. Its portfolio includes Cropin, Niramai, Healthsutra, ERC, and StringBio.
“Ankur is looking to go deeper with its investments and will support companies from Rs 3 crore to Rs 35 crores,” co-founder and managing partner Subramanian said.
“Ankur embodies DGGF’s role of spearheading new initiatives for the missing middle. The team has shown great tenacity and dedication in a challenging market and we have been fortunate to be able to support Ankur’s journey so far: Initially with seed capital and business development and now with a cornerstone investment into their new fund,” Clemens Gerteiser, head of investment for DGGF said.
The new fund comes at a time when the Indian venture capital market is witnessing an upsurge in limited partner interest, both from domestic and overseas quarters. Last year, India-focused investors raised more than $2 billion in early stage capital for this market.