Venture capital firm IDG Ventures India, which manages assets worth over $470 million, has re-branded itself as Chiratae Ventures, the company said on Tuesday.
Chiratae (leopard in Kannada) was started in 2006 by Sudhir Sethi, TC Meenakshisundaram and Manik Arora, who left in 2015. Chiratae has so far invested in 76 companies in India. The list includes e-commerce major Flipkart (acquired by US-based retailer Walmart), eyewear e-tailer Lenskart, artificial intelligence company Manthan and software firm Newgen, a listed entity now.
Meenakshisundaram, managing director at Chiratae, said, “Our rupee capital from domestic investors today constitutes over 40% of the funds raised. This gives rise to a deep India expertise with us as venture capital investors. We are Indians at heart and at the same time global in our approach with a strong footprint in the US, India, West Asia and Southeast Asia.”
Chiratae 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, about 40% of the firm’s third fund came from domestic limited partners
Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Asian Paints Family Office and Small Industries Development Bank of India are some of its domestic limited partners.
Cisco Investments, Unilever Ventures and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private investment arm, are its offshore limited partners. There are others who remain unidentified.
Sudhir Sethi, founder and chairman of Chiratae, said “As we speak, the Indian ecosystem is fast evolving. India is re-inventing itself at every level, be it politics, governance or economics. Our passion is to back Indian entrepreneurs repeatedly and grow with world-class entrepreneurs in India in leading the country’s tech revolution. Our entrepreneurs are unparalleled global leaders who are leading this Indian wave.”
In November 2017, Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer goods giant Unilever, put Rs 65 crore ($10 million) in Chiratae’s third fund, while IFC invested $20 million (around Rs 136 crore) in January last year.
The second fund did not manage to raise the targeted amount and ended with Rs 600 crore (around $100 million then) in November 2014, seemingly because of lesser participation from offshore limited partners. The second fund was smaller than the first.
For the third fund, Sethi and Meenakshisundaram realised that a change in strategy was the way forward, and shifted their focus to domestic investors. This, at a time when most of its global and homegrown peers were still dependent on foreign institutions and individuals to raise capital.
The Economic Times on Wednesday reported, citing people it did not name, that the firm is planning to raise a $275-300 million fund under the new brand.
Chiratae typically invests between $500,000 and $10 million in a startup.
Chiratae is part of IDG Ventures, a global network of technology funds with about $7 billion in assets under management.