Gender-centric early growth investment firm Achieving Women Equity (AWE) Funds has marked the first close of its India fund at $15 million (around Rs 124 crore).
The US-based firm, which launched its maiden fund in India last year, is targeting a corpus of $45 million for the India fund to back startups in sectors across climate and sustainability, food and agriculture, healthcare, besides a few investments in fintech and education. It further has a green-shoe option of an additional $15 million.
The fund is backed by international and domestic institutional investors and HNIs like AZB & Partners’ Zia Mody, Waterfield Advisors’ Soumya Rajan, former Gates Foundation executive Padma Chandrasekaran, former Microsoft executive Divya Sampath and aXYKno Capital’s Ramakrishnan Raman, among others.
The fund targets to invest in companies that promote participation of women in the market, which has historically been low. The VC firm wants to support women-led startups, besides supporting the companies that help them gain agency, while seeking impact through climate action.
“By focusing on gender equity and climate action which are very significantly and inextricably linked, not only can we deliver serious nation building impact returns, but also deliver commercial returns to our investors,” said Seema Chaturvedi, founding partner of AWE Funds.
AWE’s India fund will invest in the pre-Series A and Series A rounds, mostly in companies which are at revenue-generating stage. It is typically the first institutional investor in these companies.
VCCircle reported last year that the fund aimed to invest in 15-17 startups over the next five years. AWE India's typical investments will be in the range of $0.5-$1 million in initial rounds, which could extend to $0.5- $3 million after follow-on investments.
It has already backed agritech startup Freshokartz Agri, IT solutions provider Blackburn Technologies, healthtech startup Remedico, Velmeni.ai and in the fintech space it has backed Agam International among others.