AngelList India CEO Utsav Somani launches micro venture capital fund iSeed

AngelList India CEO Utsav Somani launches micro venture capital fund iSeed
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
20 May, 2020

Utsav Somani, the India head of San Francisco-based investment crowdfunding platform AngelList, has launched a micro venture capital fund called iSeed.

The India-focussed fund aims to invest in 30 early-stage technology companies with an average ticket size of $150,000, Somani said in a blog post.

The fund is operated via AngelList Back Office, which helps full-time startup founders run venture funds by managing services such as compliance and administration.

iSeed is a personal venture and not affiliated to AngelList, Somani said. 

“My dayjob remains CEO of AngelList India, while I run iSeed on nights and weekends,” he added.

AngelList founder Naval Ravikant is an anchor investor in iSeed. The fund also counts founders of companies including Xiaomi, Thumbtack, Hike, Flutter, Bolt, TaskUs, CoinList and WikiHow among its investors, he said. Founders and managing partners of venture capital firms such as DST Global and Matrix Partners India have also backed the fund.

“The investors in iSeed were carefully selected based on their knowledge and willingness to help portfolio companies scale. They can act as a bridge for Indian founders, who are increasingly targeting international customers and investors,” Somani said.

AngelList was founded in 2010 by India-origin serial entrepreneur Naval Ravikant along with Babak Nivi.

Somani earlier led the Delhi chapter of LetsVenture and is a member of the Indian Angel Network. He was appointed to lead the India arm of AngelList when it launched its syndicates in India. The syndicates allow experienced technology investors to create a single venture capital fund that raises money from institutions and angel investors.

A syndicate pools capital from a variety of investors into a limited liability company that invests in startups alongside the syndicate lead. AngelList handles the whole process of a syndicate including taxes, documents, accounting, legal and liquidity events. 

AngelList India has backed 140 startups so far, including edtech company Konfinity, internet of things-based startup Clairco, fintech platform BharatPe, artificial intelligence-based voice automation services Vernacular.ai and shared micro-mobility startup Yulu Bikes.

In April last year, AngelList set up an India-dedicated fund called The Collective to invest in technology startups. The fund counts Flipkart cofounder Binny Bansal, Salil Deshpande of Bain Capital Ventures, Navroz Udwadia of Falcon Edge Capital, DST Global’s Rahul Mehta, as well as Avnish Bajaj, Tarun Davda and Vikram Vaidyanathan of Matrix Partners as its sponsors, along with venture funds Kalaari Capital, FJ Labs and Beenext.

AngelList also runs a recruitment section for people seeking jobs in startups.