10 VC Firms Betting Big On Deep-Tech Focused Startups In India


Image source: twitter.com/BlumeVentures/media

The Indian analytics market led by acquisitions, investments and entrance of new startups in the market is growing exponentially. Owing to the positive outlook, with the analytics market estimated to reach $71.1 billion by 2022.

Presently, intelligent automation and artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data are driving the Indian startup market, with the ecosystem registering a 368% growth from the previous year.

In 2018, startups with operations in India and globally raised approximately USD$ 529.52 million in funding rounds and this data includes startups with investment at varying stages of development, from pre-seed to well-funded companies.

Though the major VCs were international giants, a number of Indian VCs have also played a crucial role in identifying, mentoring and diverting money to the AI ecosystem, thus motivating it to be sector agnostic.

In this article, we take a look at the top 10 VCs driving the growth story for Indian AI startups.

1) Pi Ventures: Is an early stage venture fund based out of Bengaluru. Founded in 2016 Manish Singhal, Umakant Soni, the primary aim of the organisation is to support startups who are using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). Within a short time of its inception, the venture capitalists have already created a niche by funding as many as 13 AI and ML-focused startups.

In March this year, Pi Ventures led a pre-series A investment in FrontdeskAI where it raised $2 million from the VC. The startup develops AI assistant for smaller enterprises which operates in the wellness and fitness sectors.

The other startups that it has invested in include, SigTuple, Ten3T, Niramai Health Analytics, OweMe, Locu.sh, CustomerSuccessBox and Capital Small Finance Bank.

2) Sequoia India: Is a venture capital firm specializing in investments in startup, seed, early, mid, late, series-A, expansion stage, public and growth stage companies. The firm invests between $100,000 and $1 million in seed stage, between $1 million and $10 million in early stage, and between $10 million and $100 million in growth stage companies. In India, it has led as many as 305 investments, with few of the AI startups being Vue.ai and Mad Street Den.

3) Blume Ventures: Foraying into the startup ecosystem as early as 2011, the VC fund was founded by Karthik Reddy, Sanjay Nath and is headquartered in Mumbai. Though not particularly AI or ML-focussed, the startup has backed several AI and other deep tech startups over the years. The startup VC fund aims to support startups that are working towards solving problems that are uniquely Indian. Since its inception, the organization has supported over 120 startups across multiple sectors, with 10 of them being deep tech startups.

The deep etch startup includes GreyOrange, Locus.sh, Carbon Clean Solutions, Tookitaki, Systemantics, Agaralabs, Tartan Sense, Ethereal Machine, Zenatix, Tricog.

4) Accel Ventures: Is an early and growth-stage venture that supports entrepreneurs from across the world. In India, it is one among the most active VC funds, making as many as 1,238 investments across the world. In 20107, it invested on $30-40 million Pi Ventures. Among the AI focussed startups,  Chennai-based Mad Street Den and SigTuple are the prominent names which received the highest round of investments from the VC.

5) Chiratae Ventures: Formerly known as IDG Venture Capital, the VC Fund aims to focus on tech entrepreneurs across India. In India, they have invested in companies such as Flipkart, Myntra, Yatra, Newgen, Brainbees (FirstCry.com), Vserv, Manthan Software, Valyoo (Lenskart.com), Actoserba (Zivame.com), NestAway, Hiree and SigTuple.

6) Parampara Capital:  Is the investment arm of IDFC Limited. The VC fund is an early stage opportunities fund which encourages entrepreneurs with ingenious ideas, and handhold them in evolving these ideas to a successful business. Since its inception in 2012, the VC fund has led multiple investments, of which a significant number of works are in the field of AI and ML. Data Resolve Technologies received an investment of $1 million, while Entropik Tech raised $1.1 million capital from Bharat Innovation Fund and Parampara Capital. Another startup, Verloop raised $3 million and CloudSEK raised $490,000 in April 2019.

7) Nexus Venture Partner: This is an early stage VC fund that focuses on seed, startup, growth capital and its investments rages from USD 500K to 10 million in early-growth stage companies. As of now, it has led as many as 190 investments across the globe.

8) Kaalari Capital: This is an early-stage technology-focused venture capital firm established in 2011. Over the years it has led as many as 55 investments. In 2016, Kalaari along with IDG Venture Capital invested $500 billion in Bangalore-based AI startup Active.ai, which provides tech platform for banks and stakeholders in the BFSI sector. Though Kstart, its cohort programme, the VC fund announced that it will support eight startups working in the field of AI and other emerging techs. In 2017, it also invested in Vernacular.ai, a multilingual artificial intelligence platform for businesses. 

9) Intel Capital India: Is the investment division of Intel Corporation which focuses on capital, global investment, mergers and acquisitions. Over the years, it has made 1,307 in startups across the world, a number of which are AI startups.

10) Helion Venture Partners: Established in 2006 by Ashish Gupta, Helion Venture Partners invests in high growth technology powered businesses and consumer services. The VC is known to have made as many as 130 investments.

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Akshaya Asokan
Akshaya Asokan works as a Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine. She has previously worked with IDG Media and The New Indian Express. When not writing, she can be seen either reading or staring at a flower.

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