India: VC firm Kalaari Capital eyes seed-stage investing, to sprinkle $20m in 40 startups in 2 years

Vani Kola, managing director at Kalaari Capital. The firm’s e-commerce bets balance out misses like Ola or TaxiForSure. Photo: Jagadeesh N.V./Mint

Venture capital firm Kalaari Capital plans to invest about $20 million in 40 startups over the next two years as a part of its seed and incubation programme, according to a report in The Economic Times.

“We didn’t do a single seed deal in the last 10 years, but we feel that there is a requirement and a gap in the market in terms of mentoring,” Vani Kola, managing director at Kalaari Capital, said in a recent interview with The Economic Times. The firm has so far focused primarily primarily on series-A funding rounds of $3-4 million.

Its peers Accel Partners and SAIF Partners, started seed investment programmes in 2014 and 2015.

Last year, Kalaari Capital had raised $290-million (Rs 2,000 crore) funding from the same group of investors as its earlier funds to meet the rising investments needs of early-stage ventures in India. This was Kalaari’s third round of fundraising in the last nine years. Having invested from its previous fund of $160 million in over 30 startups, the firm intends to use the new fund capital fully by investing $2-5 million across 30 startups over the next 3-4 years.

Kalaari has also brought in former Cisco chief technology officer Padmasree Warrior and Airbnb‘s global expansion head Varsha Rao to mentor startups that it will invest in under its seed investment programme, KStart. It is in talks to partner with global tech firms for the programme. KStart will have a new batch every quarter of up to five startups.

To minimise the risk, Kalaari said, it will have an option to invest up to 50 per cent in new funding rounds being raised by its portfolio companies.

Also Read: 

Kalaari Capital raises $290m third India fund; ropes in ex-Microsoft India chairman Ravi Venkatesan & ex-Casitron CEO Ram Gupta as advisors

India VC: Kalaari Capital, the e-commerce bulwark

India: Online marketplace for used cars Truebil raises $5m from Kalaari, Inventus, others

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.