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Former Infy directors, ex-STPI director join hands to launch seed fund

Aaruha Technology Fund will invest in seed stage apart from providing mentorship and market access

BS Reporter  |  Bengaluru 

Exfinity Ventures founders V Balakrishnan (left) and  T V Mohandas Pai
StartupXseed Ventures founders V Balakrishnan (left) and T V Mohandas Pai

StartupXseed Ventures LLP, a strategic seed funding company started by former Infosys honchos T V Mohandas Pai, and former director of STPI (Bangalore/Hyderabad) and ex-chairman of India Semiconductor Association B V Naidu, has launched its first fund.

Christened Aaruha Technology Fund, the fund has raised an initial corpus of Rs 30 crore with the trio as the anchor investors. The company also announced its first investment in ShieldSquare, a Bengaluru-based company which is said to be the only Indian software product company that builds anti-scraping security software that shields consumer portals against stealing of database information by competitions. The quantum of investment was not disclosed.

Interestingly, Pai, Balakrishnan and Naidu also manage few other funds either individually, in group or in partnership with some other investors. "In the seed capital space, there are lots of funds who provide some connect in the ecosystem, but there is none who can connect all the dots and create a full ecosystem.

Our role would be to fill this gap," said Balakrishnan, chairman of StartupXseed.

"This (Aaruha) will also be a feeder for some of our other funds like Exfinity-1 which invest in pre-series A stage and Exfinity II which can invest in a slightly later stage. So this will make us a major player in the whole ecosystem," added Bala who is also the chairman of Exfinity Ventures.

StartupXseed is collaborating with the incubators from many major universities in India, and also countries like Korea, Israel, Germany and other countries for partnership. "We are providing capital and playing a larger role in these companies by becoming co-founder of these companies apart from mentoring them."

According to B V Naidu, Managing Partner of StartupXseed, Aaruha would invest in focus on deep technologies companies in areas like security, semiconductor and embedded devices. The quantum of the investment would range from around Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1.2 crore. The objective would be to stay invested with the portfolio companies for a period of 18-20 months and exit when they go for series 'A' funding.

"The startup revolution in India is at its peak, and our aim is to nurture this eco-system by utilizing the best available resources," said Naidu. "StartupXseed is a unique programme combined with seed fund, strategic support, market access, mentorship and closely supported by our investor and advisory board."

First Published: Thu, August 27 2015. 18:24 IST
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