Former MySpace CEO Michael Jones launches $30M VC fund to back Indian mobile startups

Michael Jones, former chief executive of MySpace, is raising a $30 million (Rs 190 crore ) venture capital fund named Science India Fund to invest in early-stage startups that are building mobile phone applications, The Hindu reported.

He expects to close the fund in a few months.

The fund is floated through his new company Science Inc, a Los Angeles-based startup incubator and investment firm backed by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures among others.

It will be led by Umakant Soni, a former top executive at IT firm Wipro. Soni had previously founded an artificial intelligence startup Vimagino.

The fund has already committed money to an Indian startup. Indeed, it has virtually incubated a mobile app venture named Simply. The app allows people to monitor their spending on prepaid mobile connections, call pattern and fraud.

The app was created by a fresh tech grad from the M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Shabaz Ahmed. Ahmed is now a mobile app developer with Science as per his LinkedIn profile.

According to research firm eMarketer, India will overtake the US to become world’s second-largest smart phone market with over 200 million users by the next year.

Jones, an investor and strategic advisor, has founded several companies. He first founded an internet company while at college.

He was entrusted to relaunch social networking venture MySpace amidst competition from Facebook. MySpace was previously owned by News Corp, the owner of this news site.

In November 2011, Jones launched technology studio Science in Los Angeles. As an active early stage investor, he has personally invested in over 30 startups including Maker Studios, Klout, ShoeDazzle and GoodReads.

Jones holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Marketing from the University of Oregon.

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