Ratan Tata’s joint venture capital fund with University of California gets SEBI approval
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A proposed joint investment fund sponsored by Tata Sons Ltd’s chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and University of California, has received clearance from markets regulator SEBI under its Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) norms, as a per a public disclosure note.

RNT Associates, the privately held investment firm of Ratan Tata, in February announced that it is partnering with University of California, to jointly fund startups and early-stage enterprises in India.

The fund under the name UC-RNT Fund was registered under category II of AIF norms in May. This is surprising as this category is for private equity, realty fund and other debt funds. Venture funds fall under category I of the regulations.

But some venture funds have in the past registered under category II as their investment mandate is broader.

When the partnership was announced, it was disclosed that the venture would not have a flexible investment plan and without the usual 10-year lifecycle.

Although a spokesperson of the joint fund declined to comment on the corpus, Mint reported citing unnamed persons that it shall have a corpus of around $100-150 million.

University of California’s investment unit that is managed by a person of Indian origin, Jagdeep Singh Bachher, has assets of around $91 billion, including retirement and endowment funds besides cash, as per its website.

For Tata, this association expands his already active involvement in the startup ecosystem. Post retirement, Tata has become one of the most active angel investors in the country. With an investment which typically ranges from Rs 1-2 crore, he has backed three dozen startups, invested in seed and debt funds, floated a venture fund and also advised venture capital firms since retiring as head of the Tata Group in December 2012.

In June, Singapore-based venture capital (VC) firm Jungle Ventures joined hands with RNT Associates, Accel Partners (India) and Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL) to float SeedPlus, a seed stage VC firm based in Singapore.

He is also an advisor to two other VC firms – Kalaari Capital and IDG ventures.

Tata has invested in seven of Kalaari’s portfolio companies, including Snapdeal, Bluestone and Urban Ladder; four IDG portfolio companies including LensKart and NestAway; and Jungle Venture’s portfolio companies Crayon Data, Moglix and SnapBizz.

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