Mumbai headquartered integrated incubator Venture Catalysts has announced the first close of its accelerator fund at Rs 100 crore ($14 million as per current exchange rates).
The 9Unicorns Accelerator Fund has a target corpus of Rs 300 crore ($42 million), a statement said.
While the first close saw heavy participation from Indian businessmen, the company said it expects contributions from corporations, family offices and institutions from ten countries in the future.
With a ticket size of $100,000 for 5-7% equity per startup, the early stage, sector agnostic fund aims to invest in over 100 companies, with a focus on Indian startups.
“There’s no better time to bet on Indian entrepreneurs than today. We are witnessing a surge in startups who are focused on solving Indian and global problems born out of various parts of India. I anticipate the number of unicorns in India to grow 4x, from 36 today to over 140 in the near future,” Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, co-founder and managing director of 9Unicorns, said.
The fund’s portfolio startups will undergo a three-month acceleration programme, the statement said. Those that perform well will be considered for a follow-on funding round of $500,000-$2 million by a syndicate of VCats Network and global venture capital funds.
Announced an year ago, the fund seeks to identify high potential, early stage businesses across sectors, including electric vehicles, mobility, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, fintech, retail and FMCG.
Venture Catalysts, which claims to be India’s first integrated incubator, was set up in 2016 by Sharma, Anil Jain, Anuj Golecha and Gaurav Jain. It typically invests $250,000 to $1.5 million in startups and also offers mentorship and networking guidance.
The company has backed 14 startups since January. It has recently funded AR/VR platform Cusmat, industrial robotics startup Peppermint, omnichannel electronics retail platform GabbarDeals, refreshment marketplace F5, job search platform MyKaam, fintech HomeCapital and sports engagement platform Rooter.
It currently has a presence in 35 Indian cities, which includes both large metros and smaller towns. The platform connects high profile investors and stakeholders with promising local startups to enable resource allocation and funding. The firm looks to create a network of 10,000 angel investors across 100 startup cities by 2021.
It also has an international presence, with offices in the UK, Middle East, north Africa and the US.