4 Leading Founders Who Have Launched Funds To Back Budding Entrepreneurs Launching funds is also a natural progression for successful entrepreneurs, considering startup investment is one of the most promising asset classes today
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As the Indian startup ecosystem's tryst with funding winter continues, many leading entrepreneurs are stepping up to offer their support to budding entrepreneurs. Both in terms of mentorship and capital. Interestingly, this comes at a time when institutional investors are sitting with a lot of dry powder.
Some of these founders have not only turned into angel investors over the years but are also launching their own funds. The shift can also be considered a natural progression for successful entrepreneurs, considering startup investment is one of the most promising asset classes today. So, after experimenting with angel investments for a while and getting good returns, they have now entered into the formal investment space. This also gives them a chance to give back to the ecosystem.
Here are four leading founders who have launched funds in the last few years to back budding entrepreneurs with great ideas.
Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm, recently announced the launch of a Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) called 'VSS Investments Fund'. The fund, which has a total size of INR 20 crore and an additional green shoe option of INR 10 crore, will be investing in Indian startups focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Electric Vehicles (EV).
"The Indian startup ecosystem has some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the world, and we have the potential to become a powerhouse of advanced technology and AI-driven innovations. India's aspiration to be a $10 Trillion Atmanirbhar economy will be defined by the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship," said Sharma in a media statement.
Zerodha's Nikhil Kamath
Nikhil Kamath, CEO, Zerodha, recently launched the "WTF Fund". He said that this would present an opportunity for aspiring business persons in various sectors including beauty, fashion, and home brands. "Introducing the #WTFFund! Young entrepreneurs under 22 years of age can now grab the opportunity to secure funding and receive mentorship in the home, fashion, beauty, or lifestyle sectors from Ananth Narayanan, Raj Shamani, Kishore, and myself," Kamath wrote on LinkedIn.
Kamath also said that this initiative serves as a means to empower and provide crucial funding support to young entrepreneurs willing to embark on their brand creation journey.
Freshworks' Girish Mathrubootham
Together was founded in 2021 with a corpus of $85 million with the aim to back the next set of product software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups building for global geographies. Led by Freshworks founder Girish Mathrubootham and Eka Software founder Manav Garg, Together recently announced its second fund worth $150 million to continue backing opportunities in the Indian SaaS and AI space.
After an initial corpus of $85 million in 2021, the second fund is meant to build and scale successful SaaS companies globally while building India as a true Product Nation. Institutional investors in the US and Asia have shown a lot of interest in the first close. Together's Fund II offers almost double the total corpus offered in Fund I. Together Fund has engaged with more than 1,700 startups in just two years and has invested in 20 founding teams across horizontal application areas like sales intelligence, marketing, and recruitment as well as vertical SaaS businesses in healthcare and those pioneering new categories like cloud for connected devices.
Snapdeal's Kunal Bahl
After being active angel investors in the startup ecosystem, e-commerce company Snapdeal's founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal came together to set up an investment vehicle, Titan Capital in 2019. Its notable portfolio includes Ola, Snapdeal, Mamaearth, UrbanClap, Bira91 etc.
The early-stage investor recently achieved over 100X return with a partial exit from the debt recovery and legal automation platform, Credgenics, according to news reports. Titan Capital has also executed partial or full exits from other ventures such as Bewakoof, Unicommerce, ANS Commerce, and Netmeds.com.