India’s prominent smartphone maker Micromax is launching an investment fund of up to $100 million to invest in consumer Internet companies relevant to the Indian market.
Named Orbis Capital, the fund will raise money from Indian and foreign private equity firms and pension funds. The fund’s advisory board will have prominent entrepreneurs like Nami Zarrighalam, Founder of Truecaller, and renowned investor Perry Blacher among others.
In May 2015, Micromax announced its plans to invest in up to 20 companies in a year – focusing on healthcare, entertainment, and gaming sectors - with a ticket size of $0.5 million to $20 million. Apart from India, they claimed they will also be interested in companies in the US, Europe, and Israel.
Micromax was founded in 2000 by Sumeet Arora, Vikas Jain, and Rajesh Agarwal, and Rahul Sharma as an IT firm, and started selling mobile phones in 2008. Since the announcement of investing $400 million in 2014, Micromax has funded 10 startups in India, including HealthifyMe, Mimedia, Ixigo, and Scandid.
A year ago, Micromax had tied up with a Mumbai-based digital payment company Transerv. They had also participated in funding for Bengaluru-based media tech startup Zapr, along with Flipkart and Saavn. Without mentioning the names, Rahul Sharma has told the Economic Times that Micromax will exit from two of 10 portfolio companies by the end of this fiscal. According to Counterpoint Research, Micromax’s share in the smartphones market has dipped below eight percent in December 2016, from around 18 percent in 2015.
Rahul told ET: “Our investments in the 10 companies that were made from the first fund have been very successful; the rate of return has been in triple digits, which is why we want to expand the horizon.” He added that they have already identified some potential deals for the new fund, and the first one might be done in the next six months.