IDG Ventures brings in Cisco Investments as another offshore LP in latest fund
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Cisco Investments, the venture capital arm of networking technology giant Cisco, has come on board as a limited partner in venture capital firm IDG Ventures India, the companies said in a statement. The quantum of commitment was not disclosed.

“Cisco has a rich history of participating in India’s technology ecosystem and investing directly in local innovation over the past decade. We are pleased to further our commitment to the country’s ongoing digital transformation by collaborating with IDG Ventures India," said Rob Salvagno, vice president and head of Cisco Investments.

Cisco Investments made the current commitment into IDG’s third fund, TC Meenakshisundaram, one of the VC firm’s founding partners told VCCircle.

“IDG Ventures India is deeply entrenched in the high-tech ecosystem in India and combined with a solid portfolio of investments, is geared up to create value for Cisco. The investee companies of IDG Ventures India funds will greatly benefit through this association,” said Sudhir Sethi, founder and chairman of IDG Ventures India Advisors.

IDG Ventures India marked the final close of its third fund in March 2017. It was targeting to raise $200 million but secured over $208 million in commitments. Notably, a sizeable chunk of the VC firm’s third fund, about 40%, came from domestic limited partners (LP).

Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Asian Paints Family Office and Small Industries Development Bank of India are some of its domestic limited partners.

Besides Cisco Investments, the VC firm counts Unilever Ventures and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private investment arm, as its offshore LPs. There are others who remain unidentified.

In November 2017, Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer goods giant Unilever, put in Rs 65 crore ($10 million) into IDG’s third fund, while IFC invested $20 million (around Rs 136 crore) in January last year into the fund.

IDG Ventures India’s third fund, which is registered as IDG Ventures India Fund III LLC with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, seeks to focus primarily on Series A and B investments. It looks to invest in technology and technology-enabled companies in India across consumer internet, software, health-tech and fin-tech sectors.

IDG Ventures India typically invests between $500,000 and $10 million in startups. It has over 70 portfolio investments across a range of technology sectors including Myntra, NestAway, Manthan, FirstCry, Lenskart, Uniphore and Zivame.

IDG Ventures India is part of IDG Ventures, a global network of technology funds with about $7 billion in assets under management. The Indian arm of the fund was founded in 2006 by Sudhir Sethi, Manik Arora, and TC Meenakshisundaram. Arora quit the firm in 2015.

Its three funds under the IDG Ventures India banner are Pandara Trust, Chiratae Trust and Technology Venture Fund. Funds advised by IDG Ventures India Advisors collectively have approximately $470 million under management.

The VC firm has made 14 exits in the past two and a half years, and many are in the pipeline, Sethi told VCCircle. He did not specify the kind of returns the VC firm has made or are expecting from its future deals. Its successful exits include retail analytics firm Manthan and most recently IT firm Newgen Software when the latter went for an initial public offering. Another IDG portfolio company, travel portal Yatra, is listed on the NASDAQ.

Cisco Investments

Besides IDG Ventures India, Cisco Investments has also come on board as an LP in early-stage VC firm Stellaris Venture Partners.

Cisco has globally invested in over 120 companies and 40 other investment funds. It had also acquired 24 companies in the last two years. Its corporate development team looks at both mergers and acquisitions apart from venture capital investments. In India, Cisco has made about 20 investments including customer experience management platform CloudCherry, in-app customer support firm Helpshift and online services marketplace Near.in.

It also runs an accelerator programme since 2016 that takes eight startups in a batch.

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