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Angel investors launch first online platform for start-ups

Piyali Mandal  |  New Delhi 

Here’s some good for start-ups. With a goal to connect entrepreneurs with investors, a group of angel investors, including Managing Director Rajan Anandan, has come together to launch an online platform — VentureFund.com — with an initial corpus of $100 million. The founding team members include Lord Alli, co-founder and chairman of www.asos.com, Ashok Kurien, director in the boards of Zee TV, Sun TV and Playwin, and Paul Shoker, a serial investor who has interests in Indian ventures such as thePrivateSales.com and Koovs.com. Shoker would lead the fund as its vice-chairman. Anandan, also a member of the Indian Angel Network, is part of the venture in his personal capacity.

VentureFund.com, a brainchild of Shoker, aims to connect entrepreneurs of early stage with qualified investors from around the world. The site will go live later this week.

Shoker, who claims this is the first online platform for entrepreneurs and angel investors, started working on this concept six months back when his younger son wanted to invest in start-ups. “There was no authentic platform from where you could get details about start-ups,” Shoker said. He was quick to spot this problem and wrapped an online solution around it, in the form of the VentureFund platform.(WEB OF INVESTMENTS)

“The response we have had from entrepreneurs and investors clearly demonstrates that we are building upon a need to help the start-up community to get their ideas off the ground and succeed. Within six weeks, we have been able to get $100 million,” said Shoker. “By the end of the year, we expect this to be a $500-million fund.”

Besides, VentureFund.com would also act as an e-commerce platform. It has already tied up with the US-based e-retailer Amazon.com to offer a reading list for its users.

Though the platform would be free for investors, entrepreneurs would have to pay a one-time fee of around $100 (about Rs 5,400) after being contacted by a prospective investor.

“With over 100 million start-ups coming up every year worldwide, this market is very fragmented. But, most of these start-ups look for mentoring and funding. We wanted to create a platform for both entrepreneurs and investors,” said Kurien.

“Qualified deal flow is essential for any investor, and for that to happen we have to educate and mentor the best ideas and start-ups,” he added.

First Published: Fri, May 18 2012. 01:19 IST
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