Handset maker Intex launches $30 mn early-stage fund
Piyush Kumar (L), founder of Rooter and Keshav Bansal, director at Intex Technologies | Photo Credit: Rooter Technologies

Delhi-based mobile handset maker Intex Technologies has launched a $25-30 million (Rs 150-200 crore) fund to invest in early-stage technology startups, a leading financial daily reported on Tuesday.

The fund will invest in startups operating in areas that are a strategic fit for Intex, such as electronics, apps, mobile phones, human resources and sports. Investments will be made primarily from the company’s balance sheet, a report in The Economic Times said.

The fund will typically pick up 10-25% stakes for Rs 10-15 crore, Keshav Bansal, director at Intex Technologies, told the paper. It is not clear whether Intex will increase the fund corpus later or bring in third-party investors.

Queries sent to Intex seeking further details on the fund did not elicit a response at the time of filing this report.

Intex has made the first investment from the fund in New Delhi-based sports startup Rooter Technologies Pvt Ltd, where it has put in an undisclosed amount. Rooter will use the fresh capital to bolster its tech team, hire talent across sales, marketing and content, and to expand into South East Asia, the startup said.

Founded in September 2016 by Piyush Kumar and Soham Sinha, Rooter is a social gaming platform that connects sports fans around the world through a live match prediction game. Fans create their Rooter profile with teams/players they support and obtain a score based on their social media engagement. Fans can make predictions based on statistics and can also interact in a live match chat forum. Rooter currently covers football, cricket, tennis and basketball.

The app, which claims to have more than 50,000 downloads, aims to cross half a million downloads by the end of this year’s Indian Premier League season. In October 2016, the startup received an undisclosed amount in angel funding from Indian film personality Boman Irani. The round also saw participation from Dhruv Chitgopekar, partner at Kwan Entertainment, and Prantik Dasgupta, a corporate professional and avid sports enthusiast.

Intex was set up by Narendra Bansal, who currently serves as the firm’s chairman, as a computer peripherals maker in 1996. It diversified into phone manufacturing, consumer durables and IT products in 2007 and entered the wearable technology segment in 2015. Last year, Intex also made a bet into IPL when it won rights to operate Gujarat Lions, a Rajkot franchise.

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