Sunil Munjal-led Hero Enterprise on Thursday said it has invested Rs 100 crore ($15.4 million) in Aavishkaar Bharat Fund, the sixth fund by Aavishkaar Venture Management, an investment firm that backs enterprises working in rural areas and those targeting the poor.
The fund has a target corpus of Rs 2,000 crore ($310 million), it said in a statement.
In June last year, VCCircle was the first to report that Aavishkaar had hit the road to raise its third India-focused fund with a proposed target corpus of $250-300 million (Rs 1,680-2,020 crore then).
The fund will invest in businesses engaging with the underserved, in sectors like agriculture, financial services, healthcare, waste and sanitation, renewable energy and logistics and supply chain, the statement added.
“With this investment, we can continue to build and scale enterprises that are working at the grassroots, whilst simultaneously multiplying their impact outcomes,” said Vineet Rai, founder and CEO of Aavishkaar-Intellecap Group.
Of late, Hero Enterprise has invested in a host of startups and select e-commerce ventures. These investments aim to capitalise on India’s rapidly evolving demographics, the statement said.
Last year, Munjal had led a funding round in Mumbai-based online beauty essentials retailer Nykaa.
Aavishkaar Venture Management
Founded in 2002, Aavishkaar has made more than 50 investments, across sectors and geographies, in low-income states. Its five funds, including two India-focused funds, have delivered commercial returns with a total of Rs 1,300 crore under management.
The company’s second India-focused fund, Aavishkaar India II Co. Ltd, had raised $94 million. It reached its first close in September 2011. The second close came in December 2012 with Rianta Capital and Dutch development finance firm FMO making further commitments. Some affluent individuals also invested in Aavishkaar II through the Impact Investment Trust.
The impact investor had made the final close of its first fund in 2009 at $14 million.
Aavishkaar began with a focus on early-stage enterprises operating in India, and with the launch of Aavishkaar Frontier Fund in 2015, it is now investing in enterprises operating in South and South East Asia.
In January, Mint reported, citing Rai, that the firm will raise between $100 million (Rs 681 crore) and $150 million (Rs 1,022 crore) for investments in Africa.
Other VC funds
The fundraise comes at a time when several other VC firms in the country have either mobilised funds, or are in the process of doing so.
Most recently, venture capital firm IDG Ventures India marked the final close of its third fund, meeting its targeted corpus of $200 million (around Rs 1,332 crore).
In January, early-stage venture capital firm Endiya Partners made the final close of its debut fund at Rs 175 crore (around $26 million).
In November last year, Infosys Ltd said it will invest in the maiden fund of home-grown early-stage venture capital firm Stellaris Venture Partners, which was launched by three former executives at Helion Venture Partners.
Other firms such as Stellaris Venture Partners, YourNest, Unitus Seed Fund and Ventureast Fund Advisors India Ltd also launched or marked the final close of their funds last year.
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