In what signifies India Inc's growing interest in the startup ecosystem, HDFC Bank, one of the country's largest private-sector lenders, is reportedly launching a $25-30 million (Rs 161-194 crore) fund to invest in early-stage ventures.
Citing sources it didn’t name, The Times of India reported that "approvals are in place to increase it [fund size] quickly". Apart from capital, the bank will offer banking solutions, and financial and legal advice to startups.
Email queries sent to HDFC Bank did not elicit an immediate response.
Just last week, the private-sector lender had announced that through its HDFC SmartUp branches initiative, it would focus more on startups at 65 branches across 30 cities.
Last month, the bank announced that through its Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE), it will mentor and handhold fin-tech startups incubated at the country’s top engineering and business schools. Under the initiative, Industry Academia, it has initially partnered with over 50 institutes including IIT Bombay, IIT Roorkee, and IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).
HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank's parent, also runs an asset management business. The bank acts like a distributor for its mutual funds. HDFC Ltd also houses alternative investment practice that has property funds under its fold, besides limited partner (LP) exposure to a bunch of India funds.
Earlier this year, India’s fifth-largest private-sector lender Yes Bank launched a business accelerator programme called YES FINTECH. The programme looks to support and nurture solutions in financial services delivery, create scalable businesses, deploy innovative technologies, and integrate such technologies into the bank’s ecosystem.
Last year, Axis Bank, another private-sector lender, launched Thought Factory, which is aimed at accelerating innovative technology solutions for the banking sector. The bank recently selected three fin-tech startups from the first batch of its accelerator programme, whose solutions it will commercially deploy at its business units