Arkam Ventures, floated by former Helion and Kalaari execs, hits first close of debut fund
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Arkam Ventures, a venture capital firm floated by former executives at Helion Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital, on Monday said it has marked the first close of its debut fund that seeks to raise a total of Rs 700 crore ($93 million).

The fund has received Rs 325 crore in commitments so far, said Arkam Venture, formerly known as Unitary Helion Ventures, in a statement.

Limited Partners (LPs), or investors, who have committed to the fund include a US-based institutional anchor investor, Capria, a US-based global fund of funds, Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and prominent family offices in the US and India.

Other prominent Indian entrepreneurs such as Binny Bansal (Flipkart), Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm), and Rajesh Magow (Makemytrip) have also contributed to the fund.

Arkam Ventures has already made two investments in microlending platform KrazyBee and online marketplace for food and grocery Jumbotail.

The venture firm is in the process of closing three more deals in the agri and fintech spaces, it said.

Arkam Ventures will make investments at the Series A and Series B stages with an initial ticket size of Rs 15-30 crore. It will primarily focus on financial services, food/agri, healthcare, and mobility.

Arkam Ventures was founded in 2017 by Rahul Chandra, formerly managing director of Helion Venture Partners, and Bala Srinivasa, formerly a partner at Kalaari Capital.

VC fundraising

The fundraising comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has crippled economic and business activity in India and the world. Startups, which rely more on investor capital rather than on bank borrowings or their own earnings, have borne the brunt of the national lockdown in India that has been imposed to curb the spread of the infection.

Still, some VC firms hope the crisis will give rise to a bunch of new startups while existing portfolio companies will get innovative and grab opportunities thrown up by the pandemic.

Arkam Ventures said that the coronavirus pandemic is creating permanent behavioural shifts in consumers and businesses that disruptive startups can exploit to build large businesses with strong economic and social impact.

So, not all VC firms have put their fundraising plans on hold.

Earlier this month, Lightspeed Venture Partners' third India-dedicated fund received commitment of up to $25 million from a US-based pension fund.

Last month, VCCircle reported that domestic early-stage VC firm Stellaris Venture Partners has hit the road to raise a new fund to raise more capital than its debut investment vehicle. VCCircle also reported last month that Sixth Sense Ventures was floating its third consumer-focused fund.

In May, VC firm Iron Pillar, which provides growth capital to mid-stage technology companies in India, said it had topped up its first fund with $45 million.

A few VC firms such as Blume Ventures and Unicorn India Ventures had also hit fundraising milestones before the pandemic gripped India. Earlier this year, the co-founders of Parampara Capital also floated its second fund that seeks to raise $100 million.

In 2019, around a dozen venture capital firms including Accel, A91 Partners and Lightbox that back Indian startups marked the final close of their funds.

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