Angel network Keiretsu Forum to start Delhi chapter; appoints two co-presidents
L to R: Vivek Law & Krishnaprasad Ramanathan, co-presidents, Keiretsu Forum

Global angel investment network Keiretsu Forum is expanding its presence in India with its fourth chapter in the country set to start operations in Delhi in August.

The angel network has already signed up a few members in Delhi, its 51st chapter globally, said Denny Kurien, CEO and president of Keiretsu Forum for Delhi-NCR and Bangalore.

Keiretsu has also beefed up its leadership team by appointing former Bloomberg TV India national editor Vivek Law and Krishnaprasad Ramanathan, former head of sales for non-resident Indian clients at HSBC, as co-presidents of its Delhi and Bangalore chapters.

The network started in India with the Chennai chapter in January 2015. It later started its Bangalore and Mumbai chapters. Globally, it recently started operations in Chicago, taking the total number of its chapters to 52.

Keiretsu had previously said that it had ambitious plans to grow in India by adding chapters and angel investors to its network.

The network admits investors who qualify under the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) norms for accreditation. Membership is through invitation only. One of the criteria for accreditation is annual individual income of $200,000 (Rs 1.33 crore). While there are no such accreditation requirements in India, most forum members in India meet similar criteria.

The member-investors get real-time access to deals that come to its platform anywhere in the world and they can invest in them in groups.

Vivek Law, the co-president for Delhi, founded The MoneyMile, a digital video platform for investors seeking insight and financial advice on personal wealth in 2016. He also worked at The Economic Times, Business Standard, The Financial Express, India Today, CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz.

“What excited me about the opportunity was that Kereitsu was not focussed just on funding startups, but also on creating the investor culture. This differentiates it from other angel networks,” said Law. “The other thing unique about the forum is that one does not have to be restricted to investing in just Indian startups.”

Ramanathan moved to HSBC in 2004. He was previously the head of distribution at Franklin Templeton India and has also served as the national director of Centrum Private Wealth.

“Keiretsu is bridging the gap between seed and early-stage investors with capability capital and an international connect,” said Ramanathan. “It is developing an enabling ecosystem for entrepreneurship.”

The Chennai chapter of Keiretsu has invested in startups including IIT Madras-incubated underwater rover maker Planys Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Coimbatore-based Purple Ironing Services Pvt. Ltd, specialised exotic vegetables seller Bison Agro Farms Pvt. Ltd and energy analytics company Ojas Digital Technologies Pvt Ltd (EnergyLy). It has also backed Madhya Pradesh-based Artison Agrotech Pvt Ltd, which develops bamboo-based alternatives for timber.

In July 2016, Keiretsu participated in the $450,000 seed investment round of AuGrav, a Coimbatore-based startup that designs and sells personalised precious jewellery to end-customers and retailers.

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