Pratekk Agarwaal’s GrowthCap Ventures to Launch INR 50 Cr Fund

GrowthCap Ventures, Antler India’s maiden fund has reached an initial close of INR 500 Cr, according to their recent announcement. Ex- Bharatpe chief business officer, Pratekk Agarwaal, has set a goal to finalize the company’s first fund at INR 50 Cr within the upcoming months.

Agarwaal said, We have already raised 50% of the fund corpus and will close this in the next two months. We are looking to write 10-12 cheques this year in early-stage startups (seed to pre-Series A).”

The allocated amount of the fund will be divided into three categories, with 60% going towards fintech investments, 30% towards SaaS startups, and 10% towards deep-tech startups.

In February, the SEBI-registered AIF, led by a single general partner, reached its first close at INR 20 Cr. This occurred after its launch in August of last year. The fund, which is in Category-II, focuses on early-stage VC investments and raised a total of INR 50 Cr, INC42 reported.

The investment fund has already put money into Advance Mobility, a startup focused on sustainable mobility. Their primary service is providing fleets for the ride-hailing company Uber.

Agarwaal said this fund operates on an invitation-only basis to ensure the careful selection of limited partners. Among its limited partners, GrowthCap Ventures takes pride in having notable names such as Beerud Sheth from Gupshup, Shankar Vailaya from Sharekhan, Naresh Naik from Irep Credit Capital, Deepak Sharma, former chief digital officer of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Ankur Jain from InCred, and Sanjit Nagarkatti and Gaurav Bhojak from IIFL.

Agarwaal said he is also aiming to launch a growth stage VC fund, ‘Winners Fund’, with a corpus of INR 250 Cr next year. The fund will aim to invest $2 Mn-$3 Mn in growth-stage startups in the fintech, SaaS, and deep-tech sectors.

GrowthCap Ventures is a fund that operates with a focus on empowering entrepreneurs. In addition to offering financial support through equity and debt, it strives to offer guidance, networking prospects, and specialized knowledge to the founders of the startups within its portfolio.

VC funds led by individuals with previous experience in a startup or tech environment in an operational position are known as operator-driven funds. In recent years, several operator-driven VC funds have emerged in the Indian startup community.

The Rise of Venture Capital Funds

The former executive of BharatPe has not only invested in and guided various startups such as Decentro, Vegapay, Klub, Karmalife, Fundly, Transbnk, and Coverself, but has also drawn attention to the growing pattern of prominent industry leaders establishing their own venture capital funds.

The driving force behind the rise of operator-led VC funds, as stated by Agarwaal, is the desire of many executives, including himself, to be involved with multiple startups. These VC funds allow them to not just invest, but also guide and support innovative startups.

He added that the Indian startup ecosystem has capital in abundance right now. However, founders are more tilted towards operator-driven funds as they want to be mentored by the ones who have already been there and done that. Therefore, founders are today seeking mentorship to scale products, identify product-market fit, and strategize executions.

In 2021, Girish Mathrubootham, the previous CEO and founder of Freshworks, introduced the Together Fund worth $85 million, which aims to provide investments for companies in the fields of edtech and fintech.

Despite the apparent decrease in funding in the startup industry since 2023, there have been a number of new funds established by former executives. An example of this is the launch of Centre Court Capital, a sports tech and gaming fund worth INR 350 Cr, by former JSW Sports CEO, Mustafa Ghouse, in April of this year.

Last month, Rajiv Vaishnav and Abhishek Prasad, who were previously executives at Reliance Industries Limited, unveiled a B2B enterprise technology fund worth $200 million.

Recently, Suhail Sameer, the ex-CEO of BharatPe, and Dhruv Bahl, the ex-COO, have launched their own venture capital funds to invest in seed stage and Series A funds. Sameer’s fund, with a corpus of Rs. 400 crore, is set to close soon, while Bahl’s fund has a starting capital of INR 120 crore. Both of these funds will focus on early-stage investments.

Disclaimer: This information is covered based on the latest research and development available. However, it may not fully reflect all current aspects of the subject matter.

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