Mumbai-based identity management platform ERA, which is operated by Autentico Pvt. Ltd, has raised a seed round of investment from funding and incubation platform Venture Catalysts and Patni Computers' scion Amit Patni.
The startup will use the funds, worth Rs 25 lakh (around $39,000), to expand its team, build technology and explore strategic partnerships, Venture Catalysts said in a statement. The investment was raised at MTV Dropout, India's first startup reality show.
ERA provides users a safe and secure way to share their identities. The startup offers a blockchain-based digital solution for identify verification with which organisations can authenticate users without the know-your-customer (KYC) process—be it at a physical location or an online portal. The startup was founded this year by Ajay Vishnu, Priyansha Jain and Karmaditya Bagga.
“We decided to invest in ERA since blockchain is a rapidly growing product segment in financial technology, and the market potential for such a product is significantly greater,” said Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, co-founder and president, Venture Catalysts.
In addition to providing a part of the funding, Venture Catalysts will mentor the entrepreneurs and host the startup at its co-working facility for six months.
Mumbai-based Venture Catalysts typically invests $100,000-$500,000 in early-stage startups. In July last year, it raised $500,000 (around Rs 3.4 crore then) from Zaffiro Ventures.
“Blockchain is one of the most innovative and futuristic technologies with massive potential implications in the Indian financial services and banking sectors. The winning team’s entrepreneurial drive and innovative product stood out amongst the other contestants, and this led to our decision of backing the venture,” said Amit Patni, founder and director RAAY Global Investments.
RAAY Global Investments is a private investment firm run by Amit.
Amit is the son of Gajendra Patni, the eldest of the three Patni brothers who founded Patni Computers and later sold it to Nasdaq-listed iGate Technologies for $1.5 billion in January 2011. Almost six months later, Amit along with his brother Arihant floated Nirvana Venture Advisors, a venture capital fund focused on the Internet space in India.