New Delhi-based Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd, a multi-channel direct marketing platforms company, is setting aside a $2-million corpus to invest in innovative companies in the marketing services and platforms space in India. 

Christened ‘Jasper Marketing Innovation Fund’, the fund would look at investments and  acquisitions typically in the range of $50k-250k. Jasper Infotech runs, one of the largest players in the group buying space. The firm is backed by venture capital fund IndoUS Venture Partners.

"There are gaps in India in terms of marketing innovations. The direct marketing or the marketing services space in the US is a $40-billion industry where every niche has been addressed and people have built multi-billion dollar business," said Kunal Bahl, founder and CEO of Jasper Infotech. Bahl feels that there is a lot of headroom for growth in this space but the Indian entrepreneur is challenged in achieving scale given a highly fragmented retail market.

This is where Jasper's network and understanding of the market could help these businesses. Jasper already has a presence in 30 cities in five countries and relationships with more than 30,000 retailers across various sectors.

"We realise that we are in a position to support these entrepreneurs to get to scale, using capital as well as our knowhow and relationships. Typically these businesses do not require a lot of capital but there is a funding gap," said Bahl.

The fund would be used both for investments and acquisitions. The first investment was Bangalore-based group buying company Grabbon. Bahl is looking to close three more deals in this fiscal year and is currently in talks with companies.

"We are looking for very sharp and committed entrepreneurs who are passionate about building great products to meet marketing needs of retail businesses," added Bahl. The fund would look at segments like customer activation, loyalty, efficient brand promotions, social media, database marketing, mobile marketing, among others.

"If you want to conquer the Indian market, at least in our space, you want to work and collaborate with very sharp people who can help scale various products at the same time at a very fast pace," said Bahl, explaining the thought process behind the fund.

Jasper, a little over two year old startup, is involved in implementation of marketing activities like activation, loyalty & rewards programmes, online and mobile couponing for a large number of  industry leaders.

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