Venture Catalysts-run accelerator fund 9Unicorns has announced the appointment of a new partner -- Hyderabad-based second generation industrialist Abhijeet Pai.
Pai is the president at Puzzolana Machinery Fabricators, a unit of the 50-year-old Puzzolana Group, which has interests in engineering, FMCG, dairy industry and special grade metals.
“We are proud to have Abhijeet Pai as our esteemed partner. His over one and half decade of experience in managing large businesses, will help us in better sourcing of startups and develop them into leaders in their respective ventures,” Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, the founder and managing director at 9Unicorns, said in a company statement.
Pai has spent nearly 16 years at the Hyderabad headquartered business house and invested in over 25 startups and three funds since 2014.
“I am a firm believer in India’s robust start-up ecosystem. I entered into the start-up world in 2014 with a start-up called WedMeGood. Ever since I have invested in multiple other startups as an investor, be it Logicmatter, which is disrupting the data analytics space, or VanLavino setting benchmarks in patisseries domain; the journey has been one filled with hard work, joy and growing returns,” Pai said.
The appointment of Pai comes a month after the onboarding of real estate developer-turned-angel investor Pravesh Mehta and a few others as venture partners at 9Unicorns.
Announced a year ago, the sector-agnostic VC fund has been modelled on the lines of startup accelerator Y Combinator. It has a target corpus of Rs 300 crore and has already made its first close at Rs. 100 crore, thanks to contributions from a global network of venture capitalists, corporations, family offices, and institutions.
9Unicorns intends to write first cheques worth $100,000 to back early-stage startups and foster the Indian startup ecosystem, which is currently the third-largest in the world. They are focused on high-potential early-stage businesses across sectors, including electric vehicles, mobility, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, fintech, retail and FMCG.
After the initial funding and a three-month mentorship programme, the shortlisted startups could also come back for follow up rounds of $500,000 to $2 million funded by a syndicate of VCats Network and global VC funds.
Some of the companies backed by 9Unicorns include BharatPe, FlickStree, Inno8, Orbo AI, Beardo, PeeSafe, and Fynd.