Verlinvest, a Belgium-based family investment firm, has backed Spring Marketing Capital, the new venture started by former Sequoia India chief marketing officer (CMO) Raja Ganapathy.
Ganapathy, along with Vineet Gupta, former chief executive at DDB Mudra and Arun Iyer, former chairman at Lowe Lintas, set up Spring Marketing Capital last year. The firm invests in early stage start-ups and provides marketing and branding support to founders.
A Sebi-registered AIF-II investor, Spring Marketing Capital recently announced its first fund with a target corpus of $30 million. In the short span, the fund has roped in top names in start-up ecosystem as anchor investors.
The list includes Abhay Pandey of A91 Partners, former PayU India chief Amrish Rau, Jitendra Gupta, founder of neobank Amica Financial Technologies, Cred founder Kunal Shah, Avnish Bajaj, managing partner at Matrix Partners India and Ash Lilani, managing partner at Saama Capital.
For Verlinvest, the deal is part of its strategy to invest in venture capital (VC) funds. The investment firm, which was started by founding families of AB InBev, one of the world’s largest brewers and owner of brands like Budweiser, serves as a limited partner in certain funds of Everstone Capital and DSG Consumer Partners.
Besides VC bets, Verlinvest is known for its portfolio of consumer brands. In entered India through an investment in wine maker Sula back in 2010. It later invested in Future Retail, F&B Asia (which runs Burger King), Epigamia, and Veeba Foods, among others. It 2017, it picked up a stake in Byju’s, India’s fastest growing education technology company.
Its latest bet on the Mumbai-based investor will allow it exposure to early-stage deals. Spring Marketing Capital will invest $1-2 million in deals, either directly or in partnership with other VC firms. Unlike VCs, who help founders scale and setup businesses processes, Spring Marketing Capital will help founders with brand building and strategy initiatives.
The company also has a consulting arm, which has on-going engagements with Byju’s, Cars24, Cred, Epigamia, among others.