US-based EVC to launch $50 million fund focused on India

US-based investor, Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (EVC), is launching its maiden, India-focused $50 million (Rs 332.6 crore) early-stage investment fund that will look to back enterprise software, internet and mobile-focused startups.

The venture capital firm, which is led by serial entrepreneur and investor Anjli Jain, will primarily focus on startups operating in the education sector, and will also look at backing early-stage ventures in the internet of things, ad-tech, ecommerce, wearables and gaming segments.

"India has emerged as one of the most assuring entrepreneurial landscapes globally, and we have launched the fund looking at opportunities that the country's ecosystem has to offer, and the gap that we can bridge by supporting new businesses," said Anjli Jain, managing partner of EVC.

The fund will typically invest $100,000-$5 million in startups, while its accelerator could invest $5,000-$100,000 in exchange for equity in the ventures.

"We look forward to working with some passionate entrepreneurs and bring forth ground-breaking ideas alive," Jain said, adding that the venture capital firm is considering registering the fund under markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board's Alternative Investment Fund regulations.

The venture capital firm also operates an accelerator programme in Gurgaon that provides physical and virtual co-working space and operational mentorship to ventures. It operates a second accelerator in Cleveland, Ohio.

Prior to launching the fund, India-born, Columbia University-educated Jain had founded and invested in Kryptos Mobile, a cloud-based, self-service mobile app development and publishing platform, LookingGlass Platform, a provider of an integrated, software-as-a-service enterprise apps, portal and content management systems, and BlackbeltHelp, an information technology helpdesk and student services provider, among others.

The launch of the fund follows a blockbuster 2015, during which early-stage funding touched record highs. Angel and VC investors closed almost 1,100 deals during those 12 months, up 68% from 2014. Of these, angel and seed investors funded 632 deals, with VC investors backed the remaining, according to data from VCCEdge.

The pace of angel and seed investing in India has continued, with the first three months of 2016 seeing 188 angel and seed deals, valued at about $58 million (about Rs 386 crore), at a time when the volume of institutional venture capital and private equity deals have, in contrast, fallen sharply.

Source: ET Bureau.

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