IT veterans start Exfinity Fund, raise INR 100 crores to fund niche technology startups
Exfinity is an early stage technology focused fund headed by industry veterans including former Infosys directors V Balakrishnan and Mohandas Pai. Exfinity has announced the closure of an INR 100 crore round. Other promoters include former India CEO of I-flex Solutions Deepak Ghaisas and former Wipro Joint-CEO Girish Paranjpe. The fund was set up in late 2013 and will invest in about 15-17 early-stage startups in analytics, mobility and cloud. Exfinity will fund each startup with INR 6-12 crores.
“Presently only the green shoe option (of INR 25 crore) is now open for exercise and is also expected to be filled in the coming weeks largely from institutional investors,” a statement from Exfinity said (source). The fund has signed up three deals right now and is performing due diligence at this stage. Reports state that these startups are in niche areas and have been founded by ‘pedigreed professionals’. “Exfinity with its strong pedigree of founders coupled with holistic ecosystem of mentors, industry connects, subject matter experts and financing provides a perfect platform for young entrepreneurs to realise their dreams,” Balakrishnan says.
Late in 2013, Balakrishnan had said that there many private equity funds in India that invest in tech firms, but not many are run by people with technology background. Balakrishnan sold 1,00,000 shares in Infosys for 33 crore and resigned from Infosys to join Exfinity. A big chunk of the fund has been pooled in by the founders themselves. Reservoir Investment Managers is the sponsor of Exfinity Technology Fund – Series I (ETF-I). ETF-I is a category I Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) being registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) under AIF Regulations 2012.
This is a positive move and will probably encourage more IT veterans from the services industry to make a move and concentrate on products. India is already seeing a shift in mentality with many product startups coming up which are global in scope from day one. Consumer internet startups was always a fascination for first time entrepreneurs but we’re now seeing a more matured set of entrepreneurs entering the enterprise space as well (fourth wave of enterprise startups). Exfinity fund has already mentioned about funding ‘pedigree founders’ but we’d be able to tell more once we hear abut the investments they’re making.
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(image credit: The Hindu)