Artha Venture Fund, majorly backed by Singularity Holdings and the family office of former BSE director Ashok Kumar Damani, said it has marked the first close of raising money for its debut fund from listed companies, domestic family offices and very rich persons.
Early-stage Artha Venture Fund I, which has a corpus target of Rs 200 crore (around $30 million), saw its first close at $6 million. The final close is expected in the next six to 12 months, it added.
The fund made its first and only-known investment in online peer-to-peer lending platform LenDen Club’s pre-Series A round of funding last year. It plans to participate in the company’s Series A round as well, it said. Singularity Holdings’ investment arm has put money in lingerie brand Clovia and fashion e-commerce portal StalkBuyLove.
Besides, the fund is already in the process of completing three to four investments by September this year as it targets 8 to 10 deals annually.
The fund aims to invest Rs 10-15 crore in a company, and will reserve 50-60% of the corpus for follow-on investments.
Artha Venture Fund's management team has Vinod Keni, former finance chief and partner of social impact investor Aavishkaar Venture Fund and, according to LinkedIn, board member of Indian Angel Network since September 2015.
Artha Venture Fund's advisory board comprises of Madhusudan Kela, ex-chief strategy officer, Reliance Capital; Alfred E Osborne, interim dean, University of California, Los Angeles; and Rajesh N Gupta, managing partner at legal firm SNG & Partners.
Besides Artha Venture Fund, a bunch of homegrown venture capital firms such as Fireside Ventures, Prime Venture Partners, India Quotient, pi Ventures and 3one4 Capital have also announced fund-raising milestones earlier this year, which could spur funding deal volumes that have seen a decline after the boom in 2015.
Damani, whose family investment office majorly backs Artha Venture Fund, has been actively investing through his family investment office in startups such as branded budget hotels marketplace Oyo Rooms, parenting platform BabyChakra and online fashion marketplace Fynd.