How India Innovation Fund is Betting Large on DeepTech Startups, With a Fund of $100 Million


Elevating early stage funds for deeptech startups is a troublesome climb. The primary product is usually costly to make and takes years to launch. Many individuals are unwilling to help these daring startups till the expertise they’re constructing finds success.

This marked the institution of IIM Ahmedabad’s Middle for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) supported early stage enterprise agency. Bharat Innovation Fund (BIF) in 2018.

The concept to curate the BIF was to supply Pre-Collection A and Collection-A Funding to deeptech and IP-focused startups, which in any other case stay out of profile and take care of the influx of most enterprise capital (VC) funds of their early levels.

it is three years outdated Class-I Enterprise Capital (VC) Corporations funded thus far Seven There are seven different investments in deeptech startups, and tech infrastructure/inclusion options, Deploying about 40 % of its $100 million fund pool,

The fund has gained dedication from institutional buyers equivalent to SIDBI (Nidhi Nidhi), ICICI Lombard, SBI Life, RBL Financial institution, Federal Financial institutionand corporates like Philips and Bajaj Electricals With international entrepreneurs, household workplaces and HNIs.

Basis of BIF

Based in 2018, BIF is a deeptech-focused enterprise fund that traces its origins to of IIM Ahmedabad associated entrepreneurship heart CIIE.COWhich was began by Kunal Upadhyay in 2005.

with Kunal Shyam MenonA clean-tech targeted enterprise fund went on to launch – Infuse VenturesAfter India Inclusion Seed Fund And Bharat Innovation FundAll below the umbrella of CIIE.CO.

Further three companions – Ashwin Raghuraman (Former COO of India Innovation Fund), Sanjay Jain (Former Chief Product Supervisor at UIDAI and Chief Innovation Officer at CIIE.CO), and Som Pal Choudhary (Former Managing Director of Analog Units, India) later joined to arrange the platform.

Kunal says that the concept of ​​organising BIF got here from two broad thematic areas that had been rising from the Indian startup ecosystem.

One was creating options that might impression the plenty and weren’t restricted to the creamy layer, and the opposite was options for the world exterior India.

The founder says, “India was sitting on an unprecedented quantity of knowledge, technological infrastructure and international R&D hubs, which made it uniquely positioned to innovate product for the world and create options for the Indian plenty utilizing expertise. “

Recognizing the gaps in each the alternatives, the workforce determined to arrange BIFs for startups below these two particular themes.

Capital of ‘Endurance’

As a result of longer tenure, not many buyers are prepared to spend money on deeptech startups, and often fall into the later life cycle.

This usually requires massive capital investments; State-of-the-art R&D services; A big community for strategic partnerships with potential producers, suppliers and prospects; and an extended incubation interval for manufacturing the merchandise.

“The simplest alternative in India right now could also be shopper expertise (D2C), however the greatest alternative is deeptech. We have now the chance to be a world chief in offering deeptech options, and extra capital must be invested on this space,” says Kunal.

He narrates the story of one in all BIF’s Chennai-based industrial Web of Issues (IIoT) startups, DTech Applied sciencesWhich initially struggled to seek out buyers.

The IIT Madras-incubated startup acquired an preliminary funding of Rs 1 crore from CIIE.CO by means of its Velocity ​​Fund and later struggled to boost capital.

“Regardless of popping out of the world’s high laboratories, it’s troublesome for deeptech ventures to draw common VC funding because the gestation interval is lengthy and the understanding of options is proscribed. That is the hole we wish to fill with our particular stage funds (Pre-Collection A and Collection A) that take the startup to the extent the place its market develops,” says Kunal, funding band of BIF often happens between $0.5 million to $2-3 million,

Nonetheless, the scenario is bettering as fund inflows into the Indian startup ecosystem have elevated and subsequently the emergence of specialty or micro VC funds that target investments in area of interest sectors.

One of many early movers within the house is Bengaluru-based Pie Ventures (2016), which has invested in 13 deeptech and AI-focused startups, and has exited one thus far.

Then again, early stage VCs like BIF (2018), 100X.VC (2019), inflexor Enterprise (2019), and artpark (2021) aggressively increasing its deeptech portfolio and fund pool.

funding thesis

15 member workforce Strictly analyze and focus in BIF three most important areas – Market, workforce and expertise earlier than signing the examine. The startup choice course of is “fast and nimble”, says Kunal.

whereas enterprise due diligence, BIF considers 4 key areas – product-market-fit; Market potential – nascent market however quickly rising and has the potential to be a big or massive current market with a disruptive play or dissatisfaction; a robust worth proposition, scalability, and defensiveness; And it has a robust workforce to see if it has the urge for food and the potential to go international.

In terms of their understanding of the market, says Kunal, most startups hit the street. He emphasizes {that a} startup wants to decide on the fitting markets, a few of which can not even exist right now, however have future potential.

He continued with Detech’s instance and defined how the startup discovered its market match a lot later within the oil and gasoline sector and noticed vital curiosity from buyers. Accel Companions And altitude capital in his later interval. The corporate’s present portfolio consists of industrial giants equivalent to Shell, Tata Metal, ExxonMobil, Adani Group and a number of other Fortune 500 corporations.

“The sustainability of the market, expertise innovation, and startups must align with ours. We take a punt on the workforce, the expertise, and the market, and see if the startup understands IP. We additionally see the altering market dynamics and ecosystem,” says Kunal.

Emphasizing on the understanding of IP, the founder says that deeptech is never used lately.

,AI is just not the expertise deep in our brains, You will need to construct IP from in-depth analysis reasonably than simply utilizing AI,” he added.

Bharat Innovation Fund Crew

risk-free startup

BIF has already constructed a major portfolio of seven investments, together with a credit-scoring platform credit score scienceemotion recognition startup entropic techIndustrial Web of Issues (IIoT) Startups dtech Applied sciences, AR-Enabled Toymakers playsifuand information evaluation platform vphrase,

Kunal factors out that danger is inherent to startups, however relating to deeptech, the power to outlive and the necessity for perseverance is on a distinct degree.

“The appropriate strategic steering is of utmost significance for startups together with mitigation of expertise, regulatory and execution dangers. Because the gestation interval is lengthy, we’ve got to make sure that startups attain a sure milestone, mitigate danger, and extra buyers come on board,” he says.

huge umbrella

BIF is constructed on the last decade lengthy startup engagement expertise of CIIE.CO, which has been main accelerator packages and seed-funds in India since 2008. Tata Trusts and companions, together with Division of Science and Know-how (DST), ADB, GIZ, Michael & Susan Dell Basis, Invoice & Melinda Gates Basis, SAP, Cisco, JP Morgan, MetLife Basis, Siemens, Bosch, Castrol, HDFC Financial institution, Mahindra Finance, Godrej, BP amongst others.

Every fund, together with BIF, or a program, leverages CIIE.CO’s huge backend engagement with establishments, corporates and the federal government.

“CIIE works because the engine operating on the backend. We have now branded our funds (BIF, Infuse Ventures, Bharat Inclusion Seed Fund) in a different way, however they’re all managed below CIIE.CO. The intention is to construct an ecosystem for startups in rising and upcoming sectors,” says Kunal.

subsequent alternative

Kunal, who bets on rising innovation in sectors equivalent to healthtech, spacetech, enterprise tech and biotech, says India has the potential to be the cradle of innovation-first enterprises for the world.

“World game-changing merchandise will come out of DeepTech. It is a multi-billion greenback alternative and we’re supporting game-changing improvements that shall be made in India, for the world,” says Kunal.

in keeping with a NASSCOM-ZINOV REPORTOver 2,100 Indian startups have embraced deep applied sciences in 2020, up from 1,600 in 2019. Over 14 per cent of the entire startup funding went to deeptech ventures, which is a rise of 11 per cent in comparison with 2019. The report additional states that DeepTech will proceed to develop. At a CAGR of 40-45 per cent in 2021.

Kunal says, “Within the subsequent 10 years, a minimum of 100 deeptech globally altering corporations, which can grow to be unicorns, will come out of India.”


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