VC firm Lightbox raises $54 mn in expansion fund

Venture capital firm Lightbox has raised $54 million (about Rs 360 crore), expanding an existing fund as it looks to invest more in existing portfolio companies.

"I can confirm that we have raised an Expansion Fund," Lightbox partner Sandeep Murthy said in response to a query from VCCircle.

The development was first reported by The Economic Times. The report said the firm plans to deploy a significant portion of the money in the growth rounds of existing portfolio companies.

“We are launching it to support our existing companies... We are not trying to add tons of companies to our portfolio… We expect it to be in the 8-10 companies range,” Murthy said in the report.

The fundraise comes a little over two years after Lightbox, in October 2014, closed its second fund at $100 million. It had raised the second fund from overseas institutional investors and family offices.

Lightbox was floated by Murthy and Siddharth Talwar. Before starting Lightbox, Murthy spent almost nine years advising Sherpalo on India investments, which included InMobi, Cleartrip, Naukri and Greendust. He led Series A investments and took operational roles such as CEO and head of corporate development at InMobi, Cleartrip and GreenDust in the past. Talwar founded and sold Evolv to NIIT before starting the VC firm.

The VC firm’s portfolio companies include fast-food chain Faasos, online furniture rental startup Furlenco, online automobile marketplace Droom, online jewellery brand Melorra and test prep startup Embibe.

In October, Bangalore-based Furlenco raised $15 million in its Series B round of funding led by Lightbox Ventures along with Axis Capital Partners, a Hong Kong-based venture capital fund.

In September, Murthy told Techcircle in an interview that the VC firm’s next investments would be in vertically integrated businesses where it owns the entire chain.

Lightbox joins VC firm Accel Partners in raising funds in recent months. Accel raised $450 million under a new fund to make seed and early-stage investments in Indian startups. In September, early-stage VC firm YourNest launched its second fund, YourNest India Fund II, with a target of raising Rs 300 crore. Inventus Capital Partners, Kalaari Capital and IDG Ventures are also looking for investors for their new funds.

The fundraising comes despite a slowdown in funding to startups. VCCircle reported earlier this week that private equity and VC investments in India halved this year after hitting a peak in 2015 as investors tightened their purse strings.

This article has been updated to include a comment from Lightbox.

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