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Locus, Agnikul backer pi Ventures marks first close of second fund at $40 mn
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Early-stage venture capital (VC) firm pi Ventures on Thursday said it has marked the first close of its second fund at Rs 300 crore ($40 million). 

The second fund has a target corpus of Rs 565 crore, and a green shoe option to raise an additional Rs 185 crore, said pi Ventures in a statement. This is higher than its first fund of Rs 225 crore ($30 million) that was closed in 2018 with an oversubscription. 

The first close of the new fund was primarily driven by Limited Partners (LPs) comprising entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals (HNIs) and family offices from across the globe. The LPs include Binny Bansal, Varun Alagh, Samit Shetty, Rajesh Ranavat, Vikram Kailas, Anupam Mittal, Hemendra Kothari, Hitesh Oberoi, Ullas Kamath, Deep Kalra, and senior leaders from IBM, Facebook, and Google, among others, it said. 

The final close of the second fund is expected in mid-2022. By then, institutional investors are also expected to come in as LPs. 

pi Ventures’ first fund's institutional LPs included CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, International Finance Corp (IFC), and Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). 

The new fund expects to invest in about 20-25 startups, focused on disruptive artificial intelligence (AI) and other forms of deep-tech across sectors. The statement noted that the investment thesis has evolved for its new fund, which will look at companies in the physical disruption space as well, like material science, space tech, bio tech etc, apart from disruptive AI. It will continue to focus on early stage (seed/ pre-Series A/Series A) investments via this fund. 

"We will continue supporting early-stage entrepreneurs in the deep-tech space, and we take the learnings from our first fund portfolio to scale on this now proven strategy," said Manish Singhal, Founding Partner at pi Ventures. 

The first fund has backed 15 startups, including breast cancer screening startup Niramai, marketing cloud startup Pyxis, mental health startup Wysa, space-tech startup Agnikul, and logistics-tech startup Locus. 

Last year, several early-stage VC firms announced fundraising milestones. While Chiratae Ventures, Stellaris Venture Partners and WaterBridge Ventures announced the final close of their new funds, Blume Ventures and Prime Venture Partners marked the first close of their news funds.

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