Stride Ventures to launch second venture debt fund
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Stride Ventures, a relatively young venture debt firm in the industry, is all set to launch its second fund months after the oversubscription of its debut fund. 

Ishpreet Gandhi, founder and managing partner, said that Stride Ventures is already actively identifying opportunities for its second fund.  

It will continue to invest in early and growth-stage companies with higher ticket sizes for working capital and other debt requirements. 

When contacted by VCCircle, Gandhi said that the second fund will be much bigger in size but did not reveal the specific target corpus and strategy of the new fund. 

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

The venture debt firm was very quick in raising and deploying its first fund.  

Stride Ventures India Fund, which was registered with the capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India as a Category-II fund, had received SEBI's approval in late 2019. Within a month, it had also marked the first close that year. 

According to the latest statement, Stride Ventures invested in more than 20 companies from the first fund. It has also been actively investing since the beginning of the pandemic last year in March. 

Notably, the venture debt firm also disbursed over Rs 200 crore this year alone across 10 deals, as per the latest statement. Stride Ventures has also partnered with banks to provide an augmented financing facility of up to Rs 100 crore to its portfolio companies. 

Its 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. 

Stride Ventures' other recent bets include make-up brand SUGAR Cosmetics, robotics startup Miko and digital entertainment startup Pocket Aces. Its other portfolio companies include an Internet of Things (IoT) firm in the dairy segment Stellapps, interior design startup HomeLane, B2B marketplace Bulk MRO and used two-wheeler marketplace CredR. 

Venture debt has become an integral part of a startup’s funding cycle in India over the past couple of years as it rarely involves stake dilution by founders and provides companies with more time to grow. 

Its popularity got a shot in the arm 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 as 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. 

Earlier this 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 target corpus of the fund. 

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.  

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