9Unicorns, the venture fund set up by startup accelerator Venture Catalysts, on Friday announced the third close of its maiden accelerator vehicle at $40 million (Rs 297 crore).
The Mumbai-based sector agnostic VC plans to close the $70 million (Rs 521 crore) fund this year, it said in a statement.
Global and Indian industrialists participated in the third close, the statement added. Key LPs (limited partners) include snack maker Haldiram's, Indian Bank and Ahmedabad-based Chona Family Office.
Over the next year, 9Unicorns plans to write the first external cheque to about 150 early-stage startups in deep-tech, B2B SaaS, Media, FMCG, fintech, insuretech, healthtech, edtech, travel, logistics among others.
Within seven months of the first close, 9Unicorns committed investments to about 40 startups. Of that, the company said, 25% have already raised bigger rounds of investments within a range of 2X – 4X valuation. The fund’s portfolio includes interactive video shopping platform Toch.ai, revenue-based financing firm Klub, fertility care provider Janani.ai, marketing automation firm ExtraaEdge, audio production automation firm Deepsync, D2C lifestyle footwear brand Monrow, and edutech Qin1.
"As a fund, we aim to back early-stage companies that have the potential to become billion-dollar companies in the future. We have made our third close much before our set target and are looking to make the final close soon to propel an already thriving startup economy,” Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, managing director and founder of 9Unicorns said.
In addition to the third close, 9Unicorns has also launched a programme, which it claims will disrupt the traditional venture capital structure. Termed Catalysts Programme, the initiative is designed to build an open community of founders, CXOs, and the ecosystem drivers to recognise, fund, and mentor early-stage startups.
“The idea is to identify and shortlist curated startups to 9Unicorns for investment and co-investment, mentor the existing portfolio startups for 3-5 months and introduce institutional investors for next-round financing in 9Unicorns deals,” the company said.
As of December 2020, 9Unicorns has syndicated over Rs 240 crore ($32 million) with co-investors such as Sequoia Surge, Titan Capital, SOSV, Lightspeed, Matrix Partners, and Nexus Ventures. The syndication also includes some of the country's leading super angels -- Ritesh Agarwal (OYO), Pankaj Chaddah (Zomato), Anand Chadrashekharan (Facebook), Ramakant Sharma (LivSpace), Amrish Rau (Citrus Pay), Harsh Shah (Fynd), Manindar Gulati (OYO), Vikalp Sahni (Goibibo) and Sanjiv Bajaj (Bajaj Capital) amongst others.
Launched in August 2019, the fund announced its first close at Rs 100 crore ($14 million) in September 2020. In February this year, it announced its second close also at Rs 100 crore from a clutch of limited partners.