Stride Ventures floats a bigger second fund, elevates Apoorva Sharma to partner
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Venture debt firm Stride Ventures on Tuesday said it has launched its second fund that has a corpus target of Rs 1,000 crore ($137 million), nearly triple the size of the debut fund. 

Stride Ventures India Fund II also has a greenshoe option to raise an additional Rs 875 crore ($120 million), said the firm in a statement. 

Earlier this year, Stride Ventures said it had marked the final close of its debut fund at over Rs 350 crore, which was its corpus target. It also had a greenshoe option to raise an additional Rs 150 crore.  

The second fund is expected to see Limited Partner (LP) interest from large family offices, sovereign funds, private equity funds, insurance firms, and high net worth individuals (HNIs) across India, Singapore and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The debut fund had a similar LP, or investor, profile, the venture debt firm said. 

Ishpreet Gandhi, founder and managing partner of Stride Ventures, said the new fund has seen great interest from all existing investors and is looking to get new investors. 

The second fund is expected to mark the first close in the next three months, added Gandhi. 

The new fund will be sector-agnostic like its predecessor with a focus on business to business (B2B) commerce and software-as-a-service (SaaS), consumer, healthtech, fintech, and agritech, among others. 

The second fund will continue to back early to late-stage startups with investment ticket size expected to go up to Rs 70 crore. 

Stride Ventures also elevated principal and ex-investment banker Apoorva Sharma to the post of partner. 

Venture debt has hotted up in India over the past few years as it rarely involves stake dilution by founders and provides startups with more time to grow.  

It came into limelight in 2019 as new players entered the nascent industry, older players strengthened their war chest and mature startups such as Bigbasket and Lendingkart pocketed cheques as big as Rs 100 crore (about $13.6 million).  

Till early 2017, the venture debt market in India was dominated by InnoVen Capital and Trifecta Capital. In the second half of 2017, former InnoVen Capital senior executives Vinod Murali and Ajay Hattangdi floated their own venture debt firm Alteria Capital.  

Last month, Alteria Capital raised commitments worth Rs 1,325 crore ($178.7 million) as part of the first close of its second consecutive venture debt fund, overshooting the final corpus target. 

In March, Trifecta Capital announced the final close of its second fund at Rs 1,025 crore (around $140 million), slightly higher than the target of Rs 1,000 crore that included a greenshoe option of Rs 250 crore. 

Stride Ventures is a relatively young player in the market. Its debut fund had received the capital market regulator’s approval in late 2019. Within a month, it had also marked the first close that year.

The venture debt firm has invested in more than 20 companies from the first fund. It has also been actively investing since the pandemic began last year.  

Recent investments include those in used car marketplace Spinny, business-to-business marketplace for packaging solutions Bizongo and marketplace for construction materials Infra.Market, which stormed into the famed unicorn club of startups that have a valuation of at least $1 billion in February. 

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