Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma launches Rs 30-Cr fund to invest in AI, EV startups
Sharma will be a key contributor to the fund, along with other external investors, said the company.
Hoping to gain a foothold in the electric vehicle and artificial intelligence sectors,founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has launched a Rs 30-crore fund to invest in India-incubated startups that predominantly focus on serving Indian consumers and businesses.
The SEBI-approved alternative investment fund (AIF) scheme, called VSS Investments Fund, has an initial size of Rs 20 crore, with an additional Rs 10 crore available through a green shoe option.
VSS Investments Fund will not only focus on new startups in the EV and AI space but will also expand Sharma's stakes in current holdings, said a press release announcing the fund.
Sharma currently has stakes in 21 companies, including, , , , , UNNATI, etc. He will be the primary contributor to the fund, although external investors will also be invited to participate.
"The Indian startup ecosystem has some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the world, and we have the potential to become a powerhouse of advanced technology and AI-driven innovations," he said.
Sharma has been a champion of Indian startups, having not only praised but also defended the ecosystem on several national and international platforms. He has been particularly vocal about the 'valuation bubble' in India that has, in recent times, persuaded investors to tighten their purse strings.
"Many are underestimating what India's opportunity will be," Sharma had said in 2021 when questions related to valuations had been raised by investors.
He is also an advocate of the 'vocal for local' paradigm propagated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, having witnessed Paytm's popularity hit a fever pitch during demonetisation in 2016.
"The launch of this fund is a continuation of my belief in supporting young and promising Indian founders, aligned with the fact that technology has a huge role to play in the development of the country," he said during the launch of the new AI and EV fund.
VSS Investco, a company owned and controlled by Sharma, is the main sponsor of the new fund.
Edited by Swetha Kannan