Mumbai-based VC firm Unicorn India Ventures is bringing on board Professor Soumyo Mukherji, a senior faculty member at Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), as an adviser.
Unicorn India co-founder Anil Joshi told VCCircle that Mukherji, a chair professor in the department of biosciences and bioengineering at IIT-B, will serve on the firm’s Investment Committee, which is responsible for taking funding decisions.
Unicorn India focuses on investments in deep domain and hi-tech businesses and has backed startups exploring Internet of Things (IoT), 3D and robotics technology.
Mukherji’s primary research areas include biosensors and bioinstrumentation for wide-scale deployment.
The firm said he will help differentiate and filter investment proposals before identifying genuine potential.
Specifically, he will be involved in decision-making on investments in sectors such as electronic, system design and manufacturing (ESDM), robotics, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), nanotechnology and medical devices.
Mukherji will also mentor companies in Unicorn India’s existing portfolio with regard to research and development of products under development.
Mukherji has more than two decades of academic experience. He holds several patents and has been with IIT-B since 1997. He has a PhD from North Carolina University and is an alumni of IIT-Kharagpur and Colorado State University.
Apart from being a chair professor at IIT-B, he is also the dean for student affairs.
Unicorn India Ventures
Founded in early-2015 by Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar, Unicorn India Ventures invests in early-stage startups in sectors such as consumer, enterprise, healthcare and deep technology.
Before launching the VC firm, Joshi headed operations at investment networks Mumbai Angels and Bangalore Angels. He has also held positions at Century Rayon, a BK Birla Group Company, and Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd, maker of diagnostic instruments and reagents.
Last month, Unicorn India Ventures invested undisclosed sums in three Kerala-based tech startups.
Unicorn had floated its maiden fund in 2015 with a target corpus of Rs 150 crore (worth $23 million then), with an aim to build a portfolio of 30 companies. It currently has 13 firms in its portfolio.
In December 2015, Unicorn hit the first close of its maiden fund at $6 million (Rs 40 crore).
Out of that fund, it has invested in Boxx.ai, GrabOnRent, Inc42, NeuroEquilibrium, Pharmarack, Sequretek, SmartCoin, VanityCube, among others.
In November last year, Unicorn launched its maiden debt fund with a target corpus of $93 million (Rs 600 crore). The fund will look to invest in 10 ventures in a year, with an average ticket size of Rs 20 crore ($3.5 million).
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