Astarc Ventures, the strategic investment arm of the Mumbai-based automotive solutions group, recently launched a seed fund with a corpus of $2 million, and plans to invest in early stage technology startups in mobile payments, digital healthcare, digital communication, 3 D printing, and data analytics.
The fund will be increased to $10 million over the next few years, according to company sources, depending on the requirements of portfolio companies.
“I was curious about startups. Wherever I looked, I saw lots of good entrepreneurs working in multiple arenas. Also, a lot of people advised me to start a fund and help these startups with capital, support and guidance, and it made sense to me,” said Salil Musale, Executive Director, Astarc Group and Astarc Ventures.
Astarc Group, with an annual revenue of about 600 crores, has its feet in multiple lines of business, including CRM solutions for retail stores, automotive accessory designing, and data analytics etc. They are currently present across India, Indonesia, Africa and USA.
Astarc Ventures, launched in October 2014, was an attempt to venture into a new line of business. The fund has prominent figures – one of them being Prof. Jagmohan Raju, Professor of marketing at Wharton Business School, advising investments from across the globe.
“I wouldn’t look at general e-commerce, there are too many. I want to help companies that are solving a real and unique problem,” said Salil, who also added that they would be closing funding rounds with two startups in April.
The fund will be used to invest about 12 to 15 startups across the next few years, each getting investments of about $150k (early stage) to $1million (for later stages).