Kris Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal backed Axilor Ventures, a platform for early-stage startups, today announced the launch of Axilor Technology Fund, its new Rs 200-crore seed fund.
Stating that this fund will strengthen the pipeline for Pre-Series A and Series-A investments for quality startups, Gopalakrishnan, who is Chairman Axilor Ventures, said, “Our vision is to improve the odds of success of early-stage startups. The launch of the Axilor Technology Fund is an important addition to the platform.”
The Axilor Technology Fund is structured as a Category I Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) and will make investments of up to Rs 3 crore, including both pre-seed as well as seed-stage funding. In the 10-year period of the fund, Axilor will make five to seven seed investments every year.
Gopalakrishnan added that they were looking at sectors like media/content, consumer tech, enterprise, deep tech/ AI, fintech, and healthtech. “It is a broad-based fund that will provide funding to tech startups that have the potential to become category leaders in sectors,” he said.
Talking about the Indian startup investment atmosphere, which has been lackluster, if you discount the Flipkart-Walmart deal, Gopalakrishnan said, “Success breeds more success. The best VC investors are those who have been successful entrepreneurs themselves. They are investing their money back into the ecosystem through these funds. In the first cycle, many investors were from the IT wave. The second cycle will come from the likes of Flipkart, who will now pump money inside the system. The Flipkart exit will spur another wave of exits, which will create more successes. This is a cycle and we are moving in the right direction.”
In the past year, around 37 new funds have been raised by existing and new VC firms, yet the Series-A pipeline remains “choked”.
Ganapathy Venugopal, Co-founder and CEO Axilor Ventures, said, “The launch of the Axilor Technology Fund is aimed at filling this gap and funding high-quality startups which would be Series-A ready in a 12-month time frame.”
With over 38 investments in the past three years, Axilor is hosting its seventh batch of 20 startups.
To tap quality startups from Tier II and III cities, Axilor has partnered with outfits like HeadStart for outreach to increase awareness in smaller cities. “Ninety percent of startup activity is based out of the four-five metro cities. Fifty percent of our applications are from outside Bengaluru and 50 percent admits are from outside Bengaluru. We have had startups from Jaipur in our earlier cohorts,” Venugopal added.