Former Bharti TeleTech CEO Sunil Goyal, along with two other partners, has set up a new early-stage venture capital fund which is looking to invest in start-ups tapping India’s growth story. YourNest Angel Fund is raising Rs 100 crore and expects to make a first close in the next 30-45 days, according to Goyal, CEO & fund manager. The Gurgaon-based venture fund will invest into 12-20 India-focused start-ups.
Other partners of Goyal are Sanjay Pande and Girish Shivani. Pande is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in areas like education, healthcare, social entrepreneurship and consulting. Earlier, he had set up companies like Disha & Career Dimensions, Satoree and an eco-resort called My Way on the Highway. Pande will be a director and fund manager at YourNest. Girish Shivani, a founder director and advisor with the fund, had worked with Bharti Airtel and private treaties unit of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
YourNest Angel Fund, which was registered as a venture capital fund with the market regulator SEBI a few weeks ago, would be raising the fund primarily from high net worth individuals (HNIs). It has kept the ticket size for investments (by LPs) at Rs 25 lakh each, and will also look at non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs).
YourNest Angel is registered as a Rs 60 crore fund with SEBI, with a green-shoe option to raise another Rs 40 crore. The three partners – Goyal, Pande and Shivani – will commit 5 per cent of the total corpus. The fund will typically invest Rs 1-5 crore, straddling between angel and series A rounds.
According to Goyal, the fund may invest up to Rs 9 crore across the rounds in a company, with exits coming through stake sale to private equity or strategic investors. The firm has already signed two term sheets.
While the fund is sector agnostic, it will back technology-enabled start-ups across various areas. “We will look to invest in start-ups which either have path-breaking technology applications or have innovative business models or are building on a scalable, emerging sector,” said Goyal, while clarifying that they would not act as incubators. YourNest Angel Fund will back companies which have gone past the initial development stage and started getting traction.
Goyal, also an angel investor, has invested in 7-8 start-ups, backing companies like ZipDial (Mobile VAS), Taxspanner.com (tax filing), Mobiquest (mobile application development) and Jigsee (video streaming), among others. He has been a member of several angel networks like Indian Angel Network (IAN), Mumbai Angels and TiE.
Goyal has spent over a decade with Bharti Airtel, working across strategy and operational roles. “For any company to leapfrog ahead, they have to innovate their business model,” he further clarified. Goyal had helped Bharti initiate outsourcing of functions like IT (IBM), network (Nokia Siemens Networks) and equipment (Ericsson).
After that stint, he had spent three years as COO of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, helping Airtel become No. 1 operator from the fifth slot it earlier held in those circles. He then spent two years as CEO of Bharti TeleTech (Beetel) and was most recently in Africa after the acquisition of Zain.