More than $1.7 billion were poured into Indian startups by investors in the first quarter of 2015! And there are no signs of this trend waning. Venture capitalists from across the globe have noticed the Indian startup surge and everyone wants a piece of the pie. Rajasthan Venture Capital Fund (RVCF) is a VC fund that has been operational since 2002 but has hardly been in the news. Based out of Jaipur, RVCF is governed by Securities and Exchange Board of India’s Alternative Investment Fund Regulations 2012. The fund is backed by public sector banks, financial institutions and public sector insurance companies in India.
Girish Gupta is the founder and CEO of the fund and has spearheaded the activities of the fund right from the conception stage to the formulation, launch and successful operations. For RVCF, Girish has successfully raised two domestic funds with pan-India investments. Gaurav Chowdhry, the Vice President of investments has been with RVCF for about a decade and he tells YourStory that RVCF is raising its third fund with a corpus of Rs 500 crores. Currently it has 2 operational funds (RVCF I & RVCF II) with a combined corpus of Rs 166 crores.
Realizing the importance of a startup ecosystem in and around Rajasthan, RVCF encouraged setting up of an Angel fund through young HNIs. It also helped set up a startup accelerator (Startup Oasis) in collaboration with CIIE, Ahmedabad. The fund is now increasing activity and intends to have a focus on early stage technology startups. “We intend to dedicate a portion (up to 10%) of the new fund to pre-Seed and seed stage companies. These investments will be typically in the range of sub Rs 1 crore bracket,” says Gaurav. They have tied up with CIIE for the same.
Talking about the sectors, Gaurav says, “IT/ITES, healthcare, food processing, logistics and innovative projects with disruptive technologies remain key focus areas. Going forward, RVCF is bullish about IT/ITES (analytics, cloud) medical devices (healthcare), healthcare services, cyber security (products and services), e-commerce/m-commerce enablers, asset light/less logistics play and food processing.”
RVCF has been a part of the VC industry for a decade now and has supported 23 companies till date. “Moreover, RVCF, in addition to its investments in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru andChennai, has been supporting ventures in geographies like Rajasthan, UP, MP where a normal VC fund won’t usually operate,” says Girish. Some of the success stories from RVCF’s portfolio are:
NexTenders- E-tendering company based in Mumbai with innovative technology supporting online procurement of goods for government bodies
Synergistic Financial Networks (Mosambee) - Mobile Point of Sales (PoS) company Natural Technologies – Innovative banking software company (RVCF exited by selling its stake to HCL Technologies)
Liqvid E-Learning- Innovative English language training software product company. (RVCF exited by selling off its stake to another VC firm, INSYNC Advisors)
HomeStore- Home furnishing retail store (RVCF exited by selling its stake to Wadhawani Group)
Leeway logistics- An asset light, third party logistics player that has grown 8 fold since RVCF investment
Aujas Networks – IT Security company operating in India, Middle East and US.
RVCF typically operates as an early-late stage venture capital fund and invests in companies for a period of 4-7 years. “The startup ecosystem in India is at a very crucial juncture and the next phase of growth is going to be very exciting,” signs off Gaurav.