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Padmaja Ruparel Like to Handpick Start-ups in New-age Sectors IAN Fund is handpicking innovative start-ups in new-age sectors such as agritech, cleantech and healthtech.

By Punita Sabharwal

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After her association with Xansa came to an end in 2006, Padmaja Ruparel was mulling over what to do next. This was a time when most investors in India were only making big-ticket investments upwards of a million dollars. The idea of investing smaller amounts of up to Rs 1 crore in a couple of start-ups appealed to her.

"It is this gap in the market which gave birth to IAN co-founded by some leading entrepreneurs and investors such as my mentor Saurabh Srivastava, Raman Roy, Alok Mittal, Mohit Goyal, and Pradeep Gupta," shares Padmaja. Thus IAN was born – a small investors' group which would handpick and fund early-stage ventures with strong business potential. Today, it is India's first and the world's largest angel network with around 500 investors. IAN has invested in over 150+ start-ups across 18 sectors, with investees spanning across 12 countries. Ruparel says, "IAN has delivered an internal rate of return of 34%. The failure rate is also quite low and is limited to around 15%." However, it hasn't all been plain sailing.

The team at IAN was at the forefront of the fight to abolish the draconic regulation. "As one of India's earliest start-up enablers, we have had to fight a long and arduous battle against the many hurdles which were inhibiting the growth of the Indian start-up ecosystem, such as the Angel Tax," she adds. The fund is handpicking innovative start-ups in new-age sectors such as agritech, cleantech, and healthtech. Ruparel adds, "We have already raised more than our targeted corpus of Rs 350 crore for our maiden fund and are looking to accelerate the pace of innovation and disruption in India by funding more than Rs 5,000 crore in over 500 start-ups over the next decade."

(This article was first published in the November 2019 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur India

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