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Cred, Rebel Foods backer RTP Global floats third venture capital fund
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Russian venture capital firm RTP Global, which has invested in Indian startups such as Cred and Rebel Foods, said it has launched its third fund with a target to raise as much as $650 million (Rs 4,748.6 crore).

The new fund, which is more than triple the size of its predecessor, will invest in technology companies in North America, Europe, India and Southeast Asia, RTP Global said in a statement.

VCCircle had first reported in January that RTP Global was set to float a new fund that would be at least double the size of its second fund of $200 million.

The second fund has deployed half of its capital across 34 companies—10 in India and Southeast Asia, 13 in Europe and 11 in the US. The remaining capital will be used for follow-on investments, the statement said.

Leonid Boguslavsky, founder and CEO of RTP Global, said the third fund’s investment strategy will be the same as that of the previous funds. “Along with great tech and a driven founding team, we will look to invest in companies that share our values and beliefs,” he said.

The fund will invest in early-stage companies in verticals such as mobility, artificial intelligence, software-as-a-service, fintech, food-tech, health-tech, property-tech, insurance-tech and sports-tech. The VC firm will also partner with other local funds as a co-investor in all regions.

The new fund will be managed by an investment team from offices in New York, Moscow and Bengaluru as well as the new expanded team in Europe and Singapore.

In India, RTP Global had hired Kirill Kozhevnikov, former partner and managing director at Sistema Asia Fund, as a partner in 2018.

RTP Global was most active in India in 2015, when startup funding boomed. Since then, the firm had gone rather silent, striking just one deal by taking part in health-tech startup Practo’s Series D round of funding in early 2017.

The firm’s India bets look chequered as many of them have not fared favourably. Its early investments in e-tailers BeStylish and Freecultr in 2012 fizzled out quickly while some of its well-known portfolio firms, including online marketplace Snapdeal and mobile recharge platform FreeCharge, became shadows of their former selves.

“We were not silent in terms of real activity – we worked on the portfolio we created and were following on there,” Kozhevnikov had told VCCircle earlier.

Besides, RTP Global made “great returns” from Snapdeal and FreeCharge, and struck “decent returns” from a couple of other investments, he had said, without elaborating.

Last year, Kozhevnikov had told VCCircle that RTP Global raised its pace of investment as it struck seven bets.

In January this year, RTP Global and other investors led a $70-million round in Bengaluru-based consumer lending platform MoneyTap.

The firm’s other recent investments include Cred, a new venture of FreeCharge founder Kunal Shah; Khatabook, a platform that enables small and medium enterprises to record and track business transactions; and Agara Labs, a deep-tech startup that helps automate customer support. Its other investments include Rebel Foods, the owner of online kitchen brands including Faasos and Behrouz Biryani.

Founded in 2000, the VC firm was known ru-Net until late 2018 when it rebranded itself to RTP Global to reflect the success of its US-based arm RTP.vc and the company's evolution to a venture capital firm with a global focus.

The firm was one of the first movers in the venture capital market in Russia with its debut investment in Yandex, which has grown to become one of the largest Russian IT companies and owns an eponymous search engine.

The launch of RTP Global's new fund is good news for startups in the country amid murmurs of a funding winter because of the economic slowdown.

Last year, venture investments beat the pangs of an economic slowdown thanks to a welcome uptick in early-stage transactions, but startups continued to struggle for their first funding cheque as angel and seed deals declined.

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