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Wipro Ventures floats larger second fund to invest in tech startups
Photo Credit: Reuters

Wipro Ventures, the investment arm of IT services major Wipro Ltd, said on Thursday it has floated its second fund to bet on early- to mid-stage startups developing new-generation technologies.

The second fund has a corpus of $150 million (Rs 1,060.5 crore), Wipro said in a stock market disclosure.

This is higher than its debut fund of $100 million, which was launched in 2015. Wipro Ventures was the brainchild of Rishad Premji, son of Wipro founder chairman Azim Premji. Rishad took over as Wipro’s chairman last year after Azim Premji retired.

The second fund will continue to invest in companies that are building innovative enterprise software solutions across key areas, including cybersecurity, application development, analytics, cloud infrastructure, test automation and artificial intelligence.

The company’s strategy has been to invest in promising enterprise software startups and bring their leading-edge solutions to its customers, said Abidali Z Neemuchwala, CEO and managing director at Wipro. The new fund shows the company’s “continued commitment” to this strategy, he added.

Wipro Ventures is managed by Biplab Adhya and Venu Pemmaraju. It has so far invested in 16 startups. Most of these startups are based in the US while four are in Israel and one is in India.

Its India investment is Altizon Systems Pvt. Ltd, which operates a platform for developing solutions based on industrial Internet of Things. Its other portfolio companies include app testing platform HeadSpin, cybersecurity firm Vectra Networks, robotics startup Vicarious, and risk and fraud prevention firm Emailage Corporation.

Wipro's rival Infosys Ltd also runs a similar venture arm, called Infosys Innovation Fund, which made headlines for the top-level churn it went through in 2018.

The $500-million startup fund didn’t have a head for almost 10 months until April 2018 when Infosys named long-time employee Deepak Padaki to lead the investment vehicle. Padaki replaced Yusuf Bashir, who had quit in 2017.

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