Toronto-based technology startup incubator Ryerson Futures Inc (RFI) is partnering with Mumbai-based Chokhani Group, parent of Jupiter Dyechem, a supplier of bulk petrochemicals in India, to launch a fund worth $15 million (Rs 93 crore) which will seek to invest in early-stage technology ventures in India.
The fund will invest between $50,000 and $500,000 in 10-15 startups, which are part of RFI’s Mumbai-based startup accelerator Zone Startups, every year. It will also seek to find new startups and bring them under the programme.
The fund will be raising capital from both corporates and other high net-worth individuals (HNIs).
In September, Techcircle.in had first reported that RFI was planning to launch a seed fund in India, in partnership with an HNI from Mumbai.
“We are seeing many great startups coming through Zone Startups India. So, launching a fund to help rapidly advance these startups is a logical next step now,” says Matt Saunders, president of RFI. “Teaming up with Anil and Krishna Chokhani increases the size of our network and amount of capital that we can invest to scale innovative technology companies,” he added.
“We have been active in making early-stage investments, and have seen tremendous interest in the market to participate as well,” says Anil Chokhani of Chokhani Group. “Partnering with an existing accelerator allows us to leverage the benefits of a formalised programme,” Chokhani said.
RFI manages a venture fund and provides seed financing, advisory and business services, as well as customer connections to select startups in exchange for an equity stake. It also works with corporate clients to assemble teams of entrepreneurial innovators to research, prototype or pilot solutions to industry problems. Ryerson’s flagship programme is called Digital Media Zone (DMZ) in Toronto. Operational since 2009, it has incubated over 150 startups to date.
Started in February this year, Zone Startups has already on-boarded over 36 startups across data analytics, e-commerce, education, hardware technology, human computing interface, mobile payments, healthcare and enabling platforms. Its incubatees include AasaanPay, Blynk, Cubicle, DrawTime, LinkMySport and RetailNav.
Chokhani Group is a family-owned business comprising multiple operating units. It also owns two non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), which provide financial solutions to corporate customers.
Anil Chokhani and Krishna Chokhani are serial angel investors and members of Mumbai Angels.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)