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National Technology Day: Presenting 5 Tech VC Funds Driving Innovation

As India gears up to celebrate National Technology Day on 11th May this year, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight on the thriving startup ecosystem driving technology innovation across the nation. India has become world’s 3rd largest startup ecosystem and also reached the 40th position in the Global Innovation Index (GII) in 2023 as compared to its 81st rank in 2015. In all this, startups have emerged as the vanguards of change, eagerly embracing emerging technologies to propel economic growth. In this transformative journey, venture capital firms play a pivotal role, acting as the nurturing force behind these entrepreneurs, providing guidance, support, and crucial funding to fuel their success.

At the heart of it all lies that one transformative idea capable of reshaping industries and societies. Thousands of such brilliant and path-breaking ideas remain unexplored because they didn’t get the right support, the right mentorship or the funds required for them to grow, ultimately slowing down the country’s progress. This is where venture capital firms step in, bridging the gap between potential and realization, empowering startups to drive change and position India as a frontrunner in the ever-evolving technology landscape.

It is imperative that the startups find the right kind of support and guidance. Today, VC firms in India are doing just that. Following are some firms to watch out this year, investing in early-stage tech startups:

  • YourNest Venture Capital

YourNest Venture Capital is a $75 million fund, established by Sunil Goyal in 2011. Through this ‘Pre-Series A’ fund that invests in DeepTech domains like, AI, IoT, Robotics, AR/VR/MR, Dev. Tools, Edge Cloud and other digital products, Sunil aims to create an enabling-ecosystem for young and daring founders.
Before becoming a full-time, early-stage investor, Sunil gained much experience by working closely with fourth-generation entrepreneur family of Dabur and the founders of Bharti Airtel. He has also led projects in the areas of M&A, business turnarounds and strategic partnerships.

Through its three funds, YourNest has invested in dozens of companies including Thriwe, Opkey, Arya.ai, MIKO, Practically, Exponent, Datoms and Wiom. It was also recognized as the youngest VC firm in Preqin’s Top 10 Alternative Assets (2017) for investing in 16 companies in its first fund.

  • Rukam-Sitara
    Archana Jahagirdar, the Founder and Managing Partner of Rukam Capital, launched Rukam Sitara, a dedicated firm for early-stage, technology startups in India. Based in New Delhi, the firm was founded in 2023. Through this fund, Archana’s aim is to provide more than just investments to startups. The aim is to partner, collaborate and mentor startups, create a strong technological ecosystem in the country and drive innovation, positioning India as a leader globally.
    The firm provides investment to startups Functioning In the areas like Deep-Tech, Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning, Fin-Tech, Cybersecurity, Health-tech, Clean Energy and Sustainability, E-commerce and Retail-tech, Ed-tech, IoT, Robotics and Animation, Space-tech and Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR).  Its portfolio includes tech startups like UnScript and Beatoven.
  • 3one4 Capital

Pranav Pai and his brother Siddarth Pai founded the 3one4 Capital in 2015. Based out of Bengaluru, it is an early-stage venture capital firm that manages a $510 million fund and invests in areas like enterprise & SMB Automation, Fin-tech, Digital Health, Consumer Internet, and SaaS. Its portfolio includes names like Hyperface, Open, WeRise, Growfin, Repute, etc.

As the fund’s Chief Investment Officer, Pranav Pai has led over 70 Seed and venture capital investments across different categories in India and the US. Siddarth Pai on the other hand, is the CFO, and ESG Officer of the firm. He also serves as a member of SEBI Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC).

With the combined knowledge and experience of the Pai brothers, 3one4 Capital has been recognized as the India’s first venture capital firm to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). It has also been recognized as India’s top performer for two of its funds in the Alternative Assets report by Preqin.

  • IvyCap Ventures

IvyCap Ventures is a unique venture capital fund that leverages IIT and IIM alumni networks to power the Indian startup ecosystem. It has more than 20 institutional investors investing across its funds. Founded in 2011 by Vikram Gupta and his team, it invests in early to growth stage startups.

The fund manages a $530 million corpus and has a portfolio of over 30 companies functioning in tech focused sectors like Consumer-tech, Fin-tech, Agritech & Delivery (D2C), Health-tech, SaaS/Enterprise Solution, Ed-tech/Skill-tech, Aviation, etc. Some prominent companies in their portfolio include: Singularity, Vinculum, TrillBit, Superpro.ai, FingPay, etc.

The firm recently announced the closing of its third fund at 2,100 crore, a significant portion of which is being allocated to around 25 early-stage startups, some of which, including Dhruva Space, Celcius Logistics, and GradRight have already received funding.

  • Lightspeed Venture Partners

Founded in 1999 by Ravi Mhatre, Barry Eggers, Peter Nieh, Lightspeed Venture Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm, which for over two decades has been partnering and supporting some of the most innovative companies around the world. The company is of the ideology that the ‘Future is Global’, so they pursue businesses with potential, regardless of where the founders reside.

The Lightspeed team has helped in building more than 500 companies globally across Enterprise, Consumer, Health, and Fintech sectors and at present they manage a $25 billion fund. Companies in its India portfolio include: Acko, Apna, Bluelearn, Byju’s, Exponent Energy, Techmint, Stable Money, Sumosave and so on.

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