IDG Ventures aims for early entry into tech startups through seed program

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IDG Ventures India, an early stage investor in some of the country’s hottest startups such as Myntra, Vserv and Lenskart, is now working on a seed program to discover interesting investment opportunities at a very early stage.

The fund has tied up with seed funding platform LetsVenture to conduct a series of seed camps across the country to discover promising startups. The first of these camps will be held in Bangalore and New Delhi this week and will continue across India over the next year.

“IDG Ventures India has always had a focus on early and expansion stage investments. It is now expanding to seed stage through a focused program,” said Karthik Prabhakar, IDG Ventures India Advisors.

The fund is looking to invest up to 0.5 million dollars in each startup it identifies. It has not, however, changed its focus on the technology sector and will continue to look for companies in software, internet, mobile, engineering or healthcare spaces.

“The plan is to scale up this program through more platforms, more partnerships and seed-stage focused events,” said Karthik.

To start with, IDG will work with LetsVenture to identify potential investments. LetsVenture was set up a year ago to connect startup firms to investors and to boost early stage funding in the startup ecosystem.

It has about 1800 firms listed on its platform and has closed about 17 rounds of funds since its inception in funding amounts ranging from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 5 crore, said Shanti Mohan, Co-founder of LetsVenture.

IDG has already invested in recruitment startup Mynoticeperiod.com and mobile ad retargeting firm SilverEdge through the seed program, the two companies said in a statement.

Mynoticeperiod.com specializes in candidates who are serving their notice period to minimize the hiring lead time. SilverEdge owns and operates Silverpush which helps clients discover which of their clients are on mobile, thus helping them plan their advertising strategy better.

SilverPush raised $1.5 million while Mynoticeperiod raised $0.33 million in the funding rounds in which IDG participated, according to statements on the companies’ websites.

“We have seen validation of the online investing behavior with 35% engagement from global investors interested in the Indian startup ecosystem. We are also starting to see many Institutional funds now active in the early stage and an emerging trend of hybrid deals,” adds Shanti.

LetsVenture is also looking to scale up this model with other venture funds and seed investors, she said. Earlier this year, the platform raised money from a group of investors for its own growth plans. Its primary focus is on discovering startups and mentoring and readying them for funding.

“IDG Ventures India has been an active participant in the early stage technology startups. With the seed program, it intends to partner with more ecosystem enablers like LetsVenture and enable investments in disruptive ideas at a very early stage. This is the first of many such events,” said Karthik.