India’s 9Unicorns Accelerator Fund (9Unicorns) announced its first close of Rs 100 crore ($14 million). The fund will invest in over 100 early stage start-ups, with the goal of writing the first external cheque.
9Unicorns is targeting a total corpus of Rs 300 crore ($42 million), with the rest of corpus to be targeted from multiple sources including corporations, family offices and institutions from across the ten countries and beyond that have already participated in the first close.
The fund intends to offer US$100,000 for 5-7% equity per start-up. They would go through 3 months of its acceleration programme while being mentored by successful founders. Performing start-ups would then be eligible for a follow-on round of US$500,000 to $2 million funded by a syndicate of VCats Network and global VC funds. The fund is sector agnostic and geared towards Indian startups.
9Unicorns is founded by the Venture Catalysts (VCats) founding team including Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Anuj Golecha, Anil Jain and Gaurav Jain.
The fund already backs over 75 home-grown start-ups in India including BharatPe, Beardo, PeeSafe and Fynd in which VCats was a seed-stage investor among others.
Sharma, who was also the angel investor in SoftBank-backed Oyo Rooms said there has been no better time to bet on Indian entrepreneurs than today.
"We are witnessing a surge in start-ups who are focused on solving Indian and global problems born out of various parts of India. I anticipate the number of unicorns in India will grow 4x, from 36 today to over 140 in the near future."
In India, most of the start-ups struggle while raising the first round. They mostly depend on friends and family for capital. This is especially true when founders are not actively plugged into the investor network in Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi.