Clean tech fund Infuse Ventures seeks seed investments in renewables

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Infuse Ventures, an early stage clean technology venture fund, is seeking opportunities for seed investment in the renewable energy business. The fund is specifically looking for startups that are innovating to make renewable energy more affordable, accessible and dependable.

“The general impression is that businesses targeting renewable energy are capital-intensive in nature, which is not necessarily true,” said Shyam Menon, Investment Director at Infuse Ventures.

“There are many ways startup businesses can catalyse deployment and thereby increase adoption of renewables through IT, financial and product innovations," he said, adding, “We believe that these innovations have the ability to disrupt the sector and make renewable energy more affordable and accessible.”

Infuse, which is based at IIM Ahmedabad's Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), will provide minimum seed-funding of Rs 20 lakh each to five startups selected through the program. The money will be in the form of convertible equity, he added.

The idea for this seed program came up as Infuse had, in the course of its regular investments, encountered several promising ideas that failed to take off because of unavailability of funds.

“The preliminary investment may be only Rs 20 lakhs in some cases, but for a startup entrepreneur in the renewables sector, even raising this could be a challenge,” said Shyam.

“Through such an initiative we hope to help the startup prove a concept, validate an idea, build a prototype or achieve a mutually agreeable milestone following which we can consider offering scale up support to the tune of up to Rs 7 crores."

The initial money will be used by the startup to either validate their idea, or as mentioned earlier, develop a prototype, a mutually agreeable milestone. Following that, Infuse can consider scale-up support through funding of Rs 6 to-7 crore.

The program is open to companies that are directly into renewable generation such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal or even vehicles using alternative transport fuels and electric vehicles, according to a statement from Infuse.

Other candidates could be enablers for the sector such as IT, financing, forecasting, site identification, analytics, monitoring, customer acquisition or distribution-channels.

The focus will be on any ventures that are working towards increasing the adoption of renewable sources in India through information-technology, financial-model and product innovations.In a first for a seed program, Infuse has also clearly listed out timelines for the various stages to ensure the money reaches the companies as soon as possible.

“The due diligence process for regular investments do take a certain amount of time to ensure that the selection process of startups for the seed program is efficient. We have put down a timeline and developed processes to ensure delays are avoided,” said Shyam.

Applications should be submitted by November 30 and a shortlist will be drawn up 10 days later. The rest of December will be taken up with meetings and presentations after which a final selection will be made by January 10.

Due diligence and other legal procedures are expected to take another two months, which means the process should end by February 2015.

If you are interested in participating in Infuse’s seed programme, click here: http://www.f6s.com/renewableseed

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