Helion Venture Partners’ co-founder Kanwaljit Singh has re-joined as independent director on the boards of the VC firm’s investee companies where he used to represent the firm. Singh had relinquished his board positions in companies he represented Helion following his exit from the VC firm early this year.
Singh, who later founded a seed investment firm Fireside Ventures which focuses on early stage consumer brands, has returned to the boards of Vas Data Services, the company behind youth fashion brand YepMe, Spring Leaf Retail Pvt Ltd that runs restaurant chain Mast Kalandar, food product company ID Fresh Food and gift card company Qwikcilver Solutions. “I am joining the board of one more Helion company. The formalities are yet to be completed,” Singh told VCCircle.
Helion is the lead investor in YepMe, which has so far raised $83 million. The firm has been an early backer of Mast Kalandar which raised $19 million from Innovern, Footprint Ventures besides Helion. ID Fresh Food is backed by Helion and Sequoia.
Helion has $605 million assets under management, holds investment in about 50 companies and has exited a dozen, including Flipkart, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle.
“I have gone back to almost all my investments,” said Singh. In a fund structure, a general partner will co-invest with the VC in each investment he or she represents the firm. Therefore, Singh's investments in these companies are part of Helion's stake in them. “I join them since the relation with the founders are long and deep,” he said.
Singh also takes board seats in about half of the companies he invests through his new venture. Seven months into its operation, Fireside Ventures has invested between $50,000 and $200,000 each in a dozen companies including Delhi-based coffee brewer Bonhomia, Mumbai-based ice cream and yogurt brand Hokey Pokey, nutrition bar maker Yogabars, fresh meat online delivery startup Licious, ecommerce platform for regional food brands Delight Foods, rewards app Bounty, online marketplace for shared accommodation Nestaway and online shopping site Shopalyst.
Alongside his early stage investment activity, Singh is working on a support ecosystem for consumer startups. “A support ecosystem for consumer startups needs to be built. For example, if somebody wants to build a technology startup, it will be easy to find many people to advise him/her on technology, UX, UI and so on. But in F&B space, if someone wants help on product development, packaging, production and branding, it doesn’t exist. I am working hard to build it,” he said.
Singh is also working on an informal network of consumer industry veterans who are interested in investing and mentoring early stage companies in this space.