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Former Reliance JioGenNext execs float tech VC fund
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Rajiv Vaishnav and Abhishek Prasad, former employees of GenNext Hub run by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd, are raising capital for their debut venture capital fund, which will invest in early-stage technology startups.

The fund, which is christened Cornerstone Venture Partners, will focus on investments in applied artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and business intelligence solutions including software-as-a-service and augmented/virtual reality for small and medium enterprises, according to the LinkedIn profiles of Vaishnav and Prasad.

The fund will invest in startups at the pre-Series A or Series A stages.

The Economic Times, which first reported the development, cited Vaishnav as saying that Cornerstone is targeting a final corpus of Rs 300-400 crore ($40-60 million) and expects the first close to be Rs 100 crore.

The ET report also said that the fund has formed its core General Partners team that include Ganesh Natarajan, chairman of consulting firm 5F World, and Ashith Kampani, chairman of boutique investment banking firm CosmicMandala15 Group.

The venture capital firm has received the approval of markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India for the fund.

Vaishnav and Prasad have worked with GenNext Innovation Hub, RIL’s accelerator programme that is now branded as JioGenNext.

At GenNext, Vaishnav served as the head of ecosystems and partnerships, while Prasad was head and mentor of investments.

Vaishnav, a science graduate from Mumbai University, has earlier worked with industry body NASSCOM for 13 years. Prasad, an IIM Bangalore graduate, is a committee member at NASSCOM.

Other VCs closing funds

Homegrown venture capital firms have been mushrooming in the country in the past years and a bunch of them have announced fundraising milestones.

Earlier on Monday, venture capital firm Pi Ventures closed fundraising for its debut investment vehicle at Rs 225 crore ($31 million) after exceeding its initial target thanks to CDC Group coming in as a Limited Partner in August.  

Other VCs such as Fireside Ventures, Prime Venture Partners, India Quotient and 3one4 Capital announced fundraising milestones earlier this year.

Meanwhile, mid-sized and large venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Lightspeed India Partners and Saama Capital also closed their new funds this year.

Besides, Lightbox and Nexus Venture Partners have raised a bulk of their new funds.

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