Accelerator fund 9Unicorns increases corpus target to Rs 500 crore
, the accelerator fund of Venture Catalysts, has announced the second close of its fund at Rs 200 crore during the pandemic at the back of growing interest among domestic and global investors to invest in early-stage Indian startups. 9Unicorns has successfully managed its second close within six months of the first close at Rs 100 crore in August last year.
The second close witnessed massive participation from some leading global and Indian industrialists and businesses, including leading sweets and snacks manufacturer Haldiram’s.
Talking about Haldiram’s investment in 9Unicorns, its Executive Director Kamal Agrawal stated, “Our investment in 9Unicorns weaves well with our ideology of active contribution to the coming of age startup universe in India. With this collaboration, we look forward to partnering actively with the 9Unicorns team to bring our experiences and mentoring to the investees.”
The Mumbai-based accelerator has also raised its total corpus to Rs 500 crore by exercising a green-shoe option amidst a challenging economic environment. A green-shoe option allows any venture capital or private equity fund to raise money over its initial target corpus following massive interest received from the LPs (limited partners)/ investors.
9Unicorns is looking to raise the entire amount of Rs 500 crore over the next few months from multiple sources, including corporations, family offices, and institutions globally. The fund plans to write the first external cheque in over 100 early-stage startups in deeptech, B2B SaaS, media, FMCG, fintech, insuretech, healthtech, edutech, travel, and logistics, among other sectors.
Founder of 9Unicorns Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma said, “Last year was indeed a great year for the startup ecosystem that witnessed the creation of 11 Unicorns. As a fund, we aim to back early-stage companies that have the potential to become billion-dollar companies in the future. I anticipate the number of unicorns in India will grow 4x, from 44 today in the next few years that provides several investors with an opportunity to be a supporting agent and ensure multiple X returns from this emerging asset class.”
We made our second close of another Rs 100 crore just within six months of the first close, a feat difficult to achieve, that too during the pandemic. We will be closing the rest of the fund soon to boost the entrepreneur network in India, especially those in the non-metros,” he added.
9Unicorns has emerged as one of the most aggressive players in this space and had scored 32 deals within the first year of its launch. In 2020, it invested in over 32 startups, including Toch, Janani and Qin1 which have already advanced to raise bigger rounds.
Besides, the Mumbai-based accelerator fund has also launched a programme to disrupt the traditional VC structure. Termed ‘Catalysts Programme’, the initiative is designed to build an open community of founders, CXOs and the ecosystem drivers to recognise, fund and mentor early stage start-ups. The program will function along with the 9Unicorns Fund and aims to build a network of over 1,000 catalysts across the globe.
As an accelerator fund, 9Unicorns invests around $100,000 for 5%-7% equity per startup at the idea stage. As of December 2020, it has syndicated over Rs 240 crore with co-investors such as Titan Capital, SOSV, Lightspeed, and Matrix Partners, amongst others. The syndication also includes some of the country’s leading ‘super angels,’ namely —’s Ritesh Agarwal and Manindar Gulati, ’s Pankaj Chaddah, Facebook’s Anand Chadrashekharan, ’s Ramakant Sharma, ’s Amrish Rau, ’s Harsh Shah, Goibibo’s Vikalp Sahni and Sanjib Bajaj (Bajaj Capital) among hundreds of others.
However, what differentiates it is that 9Unicorns allows startups to tap into its vast business communities across Tier 1, 2, 3, and 4 cities, immediately enabling the startup to go for a pan-India approach. It allows them to get early customers, distribution partnerships, cross-portfolio synergies for startups leveraging the pre-existing network of over 4,000+ investors, founders, and executives in the VCats ecosystem.
9Unicorns is backed by several well-known global VCs and LPs from across 10 countries, family offices of large organisations such as The OPG Group, The MBG Group, Parakh Foods, Qualcon International, UB Cotton, along with top executives from SAP, Linkedin, Quest Global, AB InDev, Fujitsu besides several Unicorn & Decacorn founders.
9Unicorns is India’s first accelerator VC. It provides acceleration support and seed funding to early-stage startups. 9Unicorns provides funding of up to $100,000 per startup in the first round and plans to invest further $500,000-$2 million in successive rounds with its co-investors. From the idea stage to the angel stage, it supports startups across various themes & sectors.
9Unicorns’ strength and focus is on a hands-on support ecosystem for startups beyond the capital. 9Unicorns, besides investment, opens doors to the startups for access to a vast network of successful founders, category leaders, CXOs of large corporations, seasoned angel investors & partners of global VC funds. Every portfolio company receives acceleration support for three months and post-investment support for 18 months.