Wealth manager Sapient partners Venture Catalysts for startup investments

Wealth manager Sapient partners Venture Catalysts for startup investments
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18 Jan, 2021

Wealth management firm Sapient Wealth has partnered incubator and accelerator Venture Catalysts to boost startups as an asset class for its clients.

This partnership -- the first such signed by Venture Catalysts -- will help the incubator and accelerator achieve its larger objective of a 1,000 startup investments by 2025, it said in a statement on Monday.

Sapient director Paresh Kariya said the wealth manager has already been investing in this asset class for the past 10 years, and has made exits with multiples ranging from 3.5x to 19x. Sapient has an existing team led by KK Ram to focus on startup investments.

“Startup investing is finding increased acceptance and allocation in the investment portfolios of HNIs (high net worth individuals) and family offices. This asset class is increasingly being recognised for higher returns,” he said.

Venture Catalysts co-founder and president Apoorva Ranjan Sharma said that the partnership will let the incubator and accelerator provide its portfolio companies with a larger exposure to established corporate organisations as potential investors and mentors. 

“Corporate investors, on the other hand, get access to handpicked, high-potential startup deals from across the country,” Sharma added.

Sapient was set up in 2009. The firm is a registered investment adviser and mutual fund distributor, and has a client base of over 22,000 with assets under management of about $1 billion. It maintains a presence in several parts of the country including large and small cities.

Venture Catalysts was set up in 2015 by Sharma, Anuj Golecha, Anil Jain, and Gaurav Jain. It has since become one of the most active angel and early-stage investment platforms in the country.

It typically invests $250,000-$2 million in a firm and focuses on committing to companies that are based outside of the 10 largest metros in the country.

Some of its recent bets include agricultural-technology firms Qzense and AgriGator, Noida-based financial-technology firm YPay, performing arts platform STAGE, insurance-technology startup Ensuredit, AI-based culinary platform Klovechef, and beverage brand BrewHouse Tea Brewing Co.

Venture Catalysts also operates the sector-agnostic 9Unicorns Accelerator Fund. At the start of September last year, the vehicle hit its first close at Rs 100 crore (around $13.7 million).

Some of the startups that 9Unicorns has invested in include fitness platform Oga Fit, AI-based content marketing firm Instoried, celebrity engagement startup Gonuts, social gaming platform Tamasha, and fertility care startup Janani.