Ventureast raises $83 million to mark the first close of tech fund
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Early stage investor Ventureast Fund Advisors India Ltd has achieved the first close of its sixth fund—Ventureast Proactive Fund II (VPF2), a top company executive told VCCircle.

Sarath Naru, managing partner of Ventureast, said that the firm has raised $83 million in the first round of its technology-focused fund that aims to raise $150 million in total. He also said the fund is targeting a final closure in the next six months.

The first close of the fund was supposed to have been accomplished by the second quarter of 2015, according to the firm’s original plans.

The first close is important for investment firms as it means they have corpus in hand to start making investments.

The firm, meanwhile, made a handful of investments in India from its Life Fund III, which focusses on healthcare, food and clean-tech startups. In this fund, foreign and Indian institutions invested 80% and 20% respectively. The nature of investors for the tech-fund is currently not known.

To begin with, the tech fund will be investing in three startups - Find Me A Shoe, which offers virtual shoe fitting to ecommerce startups; OS Labs, which builds platforms for smartphone handset makers and a digital health startup whose name he didn’t disclose because it is in stealth mode.

Naru said Ventureast is more “focussed on the semi-urban and rural startups across India”. "We have partnered with leading VC investors to build a pipeline of early stage businesses over the last 12 months while fund raising activity was going on for VPF2," he said.

Maintaining that Ventureast focusses on businesses in which technology is the primary competitive advantage and not capital, Naru said: “These businesses (that Ventureast takes bets on) are leveraging the cloud, IOT, big data analytics to build unique and globally scalable solutions.”

Early stage venture investments have been on a decline in India since the beginning of this year but that has not impacted the fund raising activity. For instance, a week ago, early stage venture capital firm YourNest launched its second fund, YourNest India Fund II, with a target of raising Rs 300 crore.

Earlier in September, the founders of Mumbai-based co-working space provider and startup accelerator Z Nation Lab said they were planning to launch a seed-stage venture capital fund to back technology firms.

In January, early-stage venture capital firm Endiya Partners—floated by former managing partner of Ventureast Sateesh Andra along with Ramesh Byrapaneni and Abhishek Srivastava—had raised $15 million (Rs 100 crore) to mark the first close of its new fund.

In August, LetsVenture founder Manish Singhal floated an early stage venture fund called Pi Ventures with entrepreneur Umakant Soni.

Meanwhile, Ventureast has been investing since 1997 and has managed to close $400 million in funds so far. Ventureast’s investments include pharma company Gland Pharma, semi- conductor firm Moschip and Little Eye Labs, a tool for app developers which was India’s first acquisition by Facebook.

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