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JSW Ventures set to mark first close of new VC fund
Photo Credit: VCCircle

JSW Ventures, the venture capital arm of billionaire Sajjan Jindal‎-led JSW Group, is set to make the first close of its second fund that seeks to raise a total of Rs 350 crore ($50 million).

Gaurav Sachdeva, managing partner at JSW Ventures, said in a blogpost that the first close of the second fund will be made around Rs 150-155 crore on February 10.

The first close is a fundraising milestone after which venture capital and private equity firms start deploying the capital.

The promoter family of JSW Group continues to be the fund's sponsor. Limited Partners (LPs), or investors, in the fund, include domestic and overseas family offices, several professionals, ex-colleagues and friends, said Sachdeva without disclosing their identities.

The new fund will seek to invest in software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses focused on retail, manufacturing, health and marketing technology ventures.

“We are excited about the following trends in-store analytics, predictive stocking, design-to-manufacturing tech, sustainability compliance, pharma insights, data compliance in marketing, external insights aggregation amongst others,” Sachdeva added.

JSW Ventures' first fund, which was launched in 2015 with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore ($15 million), was entirely seeded by the Jindal family. The main focus of the fund was on the internet and technology startups.

Its investments include HomeLane, an interior design solutions marketplace; LimeTray, an online platform that helps restaurants run their day-to-day operations; OSLabs Technology India Pvt. Ltd, which runs smartphone operating system Indus OS; and Manash Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, which operates beauty products and services marketplace Purplle.com.

In October last year, JSW Ventures appointed Sachin Tagra as partner. Prior to this appointment, Tagra was with Network18 Group, where he headed investments at group’s venture investment arm Capital18.

VC fundraising

In 2019, around a dozen venture capital firms that are focused on backing Indian startups marked the final close of their funds. This was in line with what’s been happening over the last few years, but some significant firms helped buoy the total funds raised to around $2 billion, the highest ever, according to a VCCircle analysis.

India-focused venture capital firms which marked the final close last year include Accel, A91 Partners, floated in 2018 by former Sequoia Capital executives and Avataar Venture Partners, floated by former executives at Norwest Venture Partners and Freshworks Inc.

Meanwhile, at least seven VC firms including Fireside Ventures, Endiya Partners and Artha Venture Fund either announced the first or second close of their funds last year.

This raises hopes for startups looking to raise institutional capital amid fears of a funding winter in the market.

Last year, venture investments beat the pangs of an economic slowdown led by a welcome uptick in early-stage transactions, but startups continued to struggle for their first funding cheque as angel and seed deals declined.  

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