IIT Alumni Council launches Rs 21,000 Cr fundraising for MegaLab
The IIT Alumni Council, which is setting up the world's largest viral infection testing lab with one crore monthly capacity here, on Thursday launched the country's largest social initiative with a targeted investible corpus of Rs 21,000 crore for the proposed MegaLab.
The IIT Alumni Council, along with its institutional partners Mumbai University and the ICT Mumbai, which are the two initial institutional partners for the MegaLab project, has over five million alumni and the corporate investment vehicles managed and controlled by these alumni have assets under management of over Rs 5 lakh crore, the council said.
This Rs 21,000-crore funding is the largest-ever private social initiative in the country and is aimed at creating social infrastructure, ensuring self-sufficiency and improve quality of life, Ravi Sharma, president and chief volunteer of the IIT Alumni Council, said.
Of the targeted Rs 21,000 crore corpus, Rs 3,000 crore will be contributed by the PanIIT Fund, which is a social fund registered under with the SEBI as a Category I Alternative Investment Fund since April 2020, Sharma said.
The IIT, MU and ICT alumni-managed funds including Kotak Private Equity, Development Catalyst, as well as seven healthcare-dedicated alumni managed funds will get preferential co-investment rights for an additional Rs 3,000 crore, he added.
The remaining Rs 15,000 crore will be a fund of funds, which will provide capital to the incubatees registered with the IIT Alumni Council approved incubators through registered venture capitalist firms.
The fund of funds will complement the government innovation missions and the Rs 10,000 crore government fund of funds initiative managed by the SIDBI, Sharma said.
One of the early entrants to the mega fund is healthcare specialist fund Somerset Indus, which has already been contributing to the efforts of the alumni council through its portfolio companies contributing to the testing initiatives at the NSCI Dome, the IIT COVID-19 Test Bus and the development of high sensitivity indigenous radiological equipment, including digital X-rays and ultrasound, said Somerset Indus' healthcare dedicated fund manager Mayur Sirdesai, who is an IIT alumnus.
Kotak Private Equity, a part of Kotak Investment Advisors with over Rs 30,000 crore in capital commitment, has also joined the fund-raising bandwagon by getting its portfolio companies to contribute to the MegaLab, the MegaFab, and the engineered biomolecule mega incubator. "This is indeed the Y2K moment for our healthcare system," said Nitin Deshmukh, an ICT Mumbai alumnus, and a founding member of Kotak Private Equity and co-chair of the C19 Task Force Venture Capital Group.
In May, the IIT Alumni Council had announced the world's largest virology lab — to be known as the MegaLab Mumbai — by end-July with an initial capacity of 10 lakh.
In the second phase, the capacity will be ramped up by 30 lakh, and in the third phase by another 60 lakh, taking the overall total capacity to one crore tests a month — all to be completed within 100 days of the operationalisation of the first phase.
On completion, the lab will remain a permanent national facility focused on diagnosing and treating infectious diseases like the new coronavirus and TB among others.