Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma joins as anchor investor in Roots Ventures’ debut fund
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder, Paytm

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has joined as an anchor investor in the debut fund of alternative asset management firm Roots Ventures.

Roots Ventures was launched last year by Japan Vyas, a co-founder and former managing partner at Sixth Sense Ventures, along with his former IDFC colleague Ravinder Vashist. The new firm is raising Rs 200 crore for the fund, which has a greenshoe option to mop up another Rs 100 crore.

Vyas said in a statement that Roots Ventures expects to close the fundraise in the next two to three months’ time. It is in advanced discussions with two fund-of-funds, he added.

Other key investors in the fund include Pravin Gandhi of Seedfund; Sandeep Kohli, former CEO of Yum International for the Indian subcontinent; and Kushal and Chaitanya Desai of Apar Industries.

The statement didn’t disclose the amount Sharma or the investors put in the fund.

The fund has made six investments in the consumer products, consumer technology and fintech segments, the statement said. It is in the process of sealing two more deals in the mobility and consumer segments.

VCCircle had reported in January that Roots Ventures made its debut deal by investing in EM & EM Personal Care Pvt. Ltd, which owns pet grooming brand Captain Zack and personal care brand Coccoon.

Vyas was one of the early shareholders in Paytm when he had invested from his first fund at IDFC, the statement said.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma's investments

Sharma, one of the poster boys of India's startup ecosystem, and entrepreneur and venture capitalist Shailesh Vickram Singh had launched a $150-million environment protection fund in June last year.

The Massive Fund will invest in startups, companies and individuals working on the agenda of pollution reduction aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it said at the time.

In 2010, his firm One97 Communications, which runs Paytm, had floated an early-stage tech investment arm—One97 Mobility Fund—along with investor-partner SAIF Partners. The fund typically invests between $500,000 and $5 million in seed and early-stage tech startups. According to information on LinkedIn, the fund has invested in more than 12 startups in India, Singapore, Indonesia and Scotland.

Sharma was also an investor in early-stage venture capital firm India Quotient's debut fund.

Besides, Sharma has been quite active in making direct bets in startups. His investments include augmented reality headset AjnaLens and tech news startup FactorDaily.

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