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Former Fresworks Executive & Norwest Partners Launch $300 Mn SaaS & B2B Fund The fund will be aimed at creating an ecosystem of strong execution-focused partners who have built scale

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Former Partner at Norwest Venture Partners, Mohan Kumar and former Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Chennai-based Software as a Service (SaaS) unicorn Freshworks have come together to launch Avataar Venture Partners, whose maiden fund will have HarbourVest, the global fund-of-funds, as its single Limited Partner or sponsor. The $300 million fund will invest in B2B and Software as a Service (SaaS) companies.

HarbourVest is a Boston-based private equity investment manager, one of the largest in the world. This will be its first first-ever direct exposure to a VC fund operating in India and South-East Asia. With this launch, Avataar is all set to acquire a stake in 6SaaS startups including Zenoti, Appnomic, Capillary, CRMNext, ElasticRun and Manthan.

India's Fund Launching Story

A hard to miss trend in the business ecosystem is that of launching venture funds. From business giants to individuals, the wave of setting up venture funds has swept the nation. 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.

Commenting on the launch, the founding partners of Avataar said, "With Avataar, we want to create an ecosystem of strong execution-focused partners who have built scale, have seen the story before and can bring timely learning from past successes and failures to our entrepreneurs. The fund will focus on bringing this as a key differentiator beyond capital. The partnership with HarbourVest will allow us to provide capital needed to scale our businesses."

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