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Mindtree co-founders’ VC firm marks first close of maiden fund
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Mela Ventures, a fund floated by at least two co-founders of software services company Mindtree Ltd, has marked the first close of its maiden venture capital fund at Rs 130 crore ($17.5 million).

The MV Core Tech Fund I is Category-II alternative investment fund (AIF) registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India and has a target corpus of Rs 200 crore, Mela Ventures said in a statement.

The firm didn’t name the limited partners (LPs) who committed capital to the fund, saying only that the anchor investors included professionals with expertise in technology, institutions and startup backers.

Mela Ventures’s managing partners are Krishnakumar Natarajan and Parthasarathy NS. Natarajan was previously chairman at Mindtree while Parthasarathy was vice-chairman and chief operating officer. They quit Mindtree last year after engineering giant Larsen & Toubro completed its hostile takeover of the software services company.

Mela Ventures says it will focus on building a portfolio in areas including artificial intelligence and machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, internet of things and cloud computing.

The firm says it is targeting to make four to five investments in the next 18 months, with an average ticket size ranging from Rs 7-10 crore.

“We are on a mission to build next-generation entrepreneurs out of India. Towards this mission, Mela Ventures will support early-stage companies using cutting edge technologies to build B2B solutions targeted at global enterprises,” Natarajan said.

Parthasarathy NS said the firm will also help investee companies with the experience and expertise of its LPs and partners.

The new fund’s first close comes as startups in the segments that Mela Ventures will invest in continue to attract big cheques from marquee investors. Companies such as Postman, Inspektlabs, Spyne, and Toch have raised funds from investors including Inflection Point Ventures, Better Capital, AngelList, Smile Group, and Nexus Venture Partners.

Mela Ventures is the fourth firm this month to have announced securing capital commitments for its investment vehicle, showing LP interest in India’s startup space despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week, UK-based development finance institution CDC Group Plc said it had committed $10 million (around Rs 75 crore) to the fourth fund of Chiratae Ventures. Formerly known as IDG Ventures India, Chiratae invests in companies across seed, early and expansion stages.

Also last week, Lightspeed India Partners said it had raised $275 million (around Rs 2,052 crore) for its new fund. The VC firm had launched its first India-dedicated fund of $135 million in 2015. It has backed companies including Byju’s, OYO, and ShareChat.

Earlier this month, VCCircle reported that early-stage VC firm Endiya Partners had received capital for its new vehicle from a fund of funds that was launched last year.

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