Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting Takes a New Approach Towards Start-ups - Launches a VC Fund
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The top brass of the Indian business has been extending a supporting hand to the Indian start-up ecosystem in several ways. While the Tatas have been making investments in Indian start-ups and have been a catalyst in making Ola’s mobility arm, Ola Electric Mobility, a unicorn, Indian IT giant Wipro’s consumer care and FMCG arm, Wipro Consumer & Lighting has now launched a VC fund to support the burgeoning start-up activities in the ecosystem of India.
The fund will invest in start-ups in the consumer brands space according to company statement. It also said that the company intends to invest in new-age start-ups in digital, e-commerce, and other ventures that adopt an innovative approach to reach consumers. The investments will happen across India and Southeast Asia in start-ups that have “strong entrepreneurs” and a “sound business model.”
To bolster the movement, Wipro Consumer Care has appointed Sumit Keshan, a former Wiproite, as the Managing Partner of the Ventures. Commenting on the new movement, “Our investment in Happily Unmarried was our first step to establishing this venture capital fund. Apart from financial capital, what we bring to the table is deep knowledge of operations and the ability to scale up, and a strong understanding of consumers in India and South East Asia markets. These would support start-ups in their endeavour to grow rapidly.” Wipro had previously invested an undisclosed amount in consumer products firm, Happily Unmarried.
The VC Market in India
VC activity in India has seen a sharp rise over the last few years. The venture capital arm of Korea-headquartered Samsung Group invested $8.5 million across 4 start-ups in India in July. Former Chairman of Tata Group, Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, launched the private equity venture firm, Mistry Ventures LLP.
Japan, particularly, has seen shown intense interest in Indian start-ups. According to a media report, Japanese companies and venture capitalists have pumped $2.1 billion in 2018 into the Indian start-up ecosystem. Moreover, Japan’s star investor, SoftBank is originally a telecom company. However, its VC initiatives, including the Vision Fund and the recently-launched Vision Fund II gained greater prominence than the company itself.
Not just the big guns, even individual entrepreneurs such as Sachin Bansal ventured into the start-up investment territory with his VC fund BAC Acquisitions. He has invested in well-known start-ups including Indian cab aggregator unicorn Ola and e-mobility company Ather Energy.
Wipro is entering a new age especially after its founder, Azim Premji, called it a day and handed over the reins of the company to his son, Rishad Premji.