The newly formed private equity firm Plexus Capital Ventures (108 Plexus Capital) has made its debut investment by acquiring a minority stake in Pune-based IRIS Energy Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2009, IRIS provides remote management solutions for high intensity discharge (HID) lighting applications, such as street lighting, plant and area lighting, infrastructure projects, architectural lighting and sports lighting, which allow control, monitoring and maintenance from a central location and give 30 per cent-50 per cent energy saving over the traditional lighting controllers, according to a statement.

“This is our second round of funding and we are happy to have quality investors in both the rounds. We are pleased to partner with Plexus because of its strategy and at this juncture of growth, we were looking for partners who would bring something beyond capital,” said Satish Shenoy, director and investor, IRIS.

IRIS will use the funds towards capital expenditure and to meet its working capital needs. Some of its products are currently awaiting patents.

“Currently, there are 48 million HID lamps in India used across various industrial and commercial sectors, including street lighting, among others. However, most of them use inefficient and outdated technology. This addressable market of retro-fitting itself is worth $4 billion in India alone,” said Adith Podhar, vice-president of 108 Plexus Capital.

Cipher Capital Advisors was the exclusive financial advisor to the transaction while Acuity Law acted as the legal advisor.

108 Plexus Capital typically invests $1 million-$5 million in small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and focuses on areas like energy efficiency, infra-enablers, food & agriculture, and consumption-driven opportunities.

The firm has been founded by Kunal Kumthekar, who is also the co-founder of Nine Rivers Capital. A Wharton Business School alumnus, Kumthekar was also a director and partner at investment bank Cipher Capital.

108 Plexus Capital continues to advise Nine Rivers Capital Management for its existing portfolio – namely, Pranav Construction Systems (an engineering company), GPT Infraprojects (railways-focused infrastructure services) and Global AgriSystem (fresh produce procurement and supply chain management).

108 Plexus Capital is currently raising a fund of Rs 100 crore, with an option to raise an additional Rs 25 crore. According to Kumthekar, the fund expects a first close by the end of March this year.

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