UN Patron and Founder of financial services company Paytm Vijay Shekhar Sharma, along with seasoned venture capitalist Shailesh Vickram Singh of Seedfund, on Wednesday announced the launch of Massive Fund for India, pledging to invest close to $150 million in support of environmental protection.
According to a statement released to the press, Massive Fund is a stage-agnostic, sector-focused and deep science fund that aims to target large problems in the areas of food, agriculture, air and water pollution, including renewable energy, as well as areas of recyclables like electronic and plastic waste, mobility, and sustainably built environment.
This fund will undertake investments in startups, companies and individuals working on the agenda of pollution reduction, which will be aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Further, the fund aims to build an ecosystem for reducing pollution by partnering with academia, R&D labs, mentors, professionals and venture funds across the country.
Massive Fund will be raising institutional capital as well as from high net-worth individuals who are aligned with the objective of saving the environment, the statement said.
The fund will also have an incubator programme, called GoMassive, which will work closely with leading educational and research institutions such as NRDC, IIT Delhi, IIM Lucknow and Sustainable India Finance Facility (SIFF).
To groom young startup teams to foster a spirit of green energy-led entrepreneurship, GoMassive is running boot camps and conducting hackathons across Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangaluru.
Speaking on the investment, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm, said,
There is an urgent need for bringing in technological solutions for reducing pollution. Through this initiative, we will provide adequate funding for innovations that can reduce air, water and plastic pollution efficiently on the scale. The current generation owes it to the youngsters to leave behind a less polluted, healthier environment. We need the brightest funds and adequate capital or economic resources to tackle this massive problem of pollution that we are staring at. Our efforts, through this fund, will be to ensure that capital does not get in the way for innovative solutions to beating pollution.
Shailesh Vickram Singh, Managing Partner, Massive Fund, said,
We aim to encourage young entrepreneurs to innovate and build solutions such as pesticide-free food, plastic removal, biodegradable packaging, CO2 absorption, pollution-free cities and sustainable housing, which are crucial for our well-being. We will support our portfolio companies with high-end R&D labs and take insights from research institutes, scientists and academia. We will also facilitate interactions with large industrial conglomerates to validate and utilise their new-age tech solutions.
This is not the first time two industry stalwarts have come together to launch a fund. Earlier, in July last year, Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani and Helion Venture’s Sanjeev Aggarwal launched their investment fund, Fundamentum, with a corpus of $100 million.
The fund was focussed towards providing growth capital to startups, with a third of the corpus coming from Nilekani and Aggarwal.
A report released by International Finance Corporation (IFC) states that India offers a climate-smart investment potential of $3 trillion between 2018 and 2030, with an active need for green technology funds.