Binny Bansal plans to launch $300-400m VC fund focused on India, SE Asia

Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Binny Bansal, the erstwhile co-founder of Indian e-commerce company Flipkart, is preparing to launch a venture capital (VC) fund worth $300-400 million, which will focus on startups that are in need of growth capital in India and Southeast Asia, The Times of India (TOI) reported quoting sources.

Bansal is expected to float the fund by the end of the year, with its headquarters in Singapore. He will be a general partner (GP) running the fund and is likely to contribute 10-20% to the fund’s corpus, the report added.

Other anchor investors in the proposed VC fund may include fund of funds and family offices.

The preparations to launch the fund have already begun. Bansal has roped in former Flipkart executive Rajneesh Baweja, to handle finance and legal functions at the fund. He had also moved his base from India to Singapore earlier this year.

Bansal quit as the Group CEO of Flipkart in November last year. He had divested a small part of his minority holding, retaining a 3.85 per cent stake in Flipkart after it was acquired by Walmart in a $16-billion deal last year.

Earlier this year, he had sold around 54 lakh of his equity shares for $76 million (Rs 531 crore) to retail giant Walmart’s Luxembourg entity FIT Holdings SARL. A few days ago, he sold additional shares in Flipkart to New York investment firm Tiger Global, retaining a little over 3 per cent stake in the Indian e-commerce company.

The latest development doesn’t come as a surprise as Bansal has been investing in startups in his personal capacity for sometime now. His portfolio companies include Acko General Insurance, AI venture Spotdraft, and healthtech firm NIRAMAI, among others. In the past, he has also put in money in a couple of VC funds, including anchoring 021 Cap. But it is also interesting at the same time, as most funds in the Indian VC ecosystem are focused on early-stage funding.

Bansal seems to be following the footsteps of his one-time business partner and Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, who started BAC Acquisitions Pvt Ltd last year. Bansal is using BAC as a holding company to make investments in early-to-mid stage startups besides launching new businesses.

Like the Bansal duo, many other entrepreneurs have turned investors after pocketing huge amounts of money by selling stakes in the company they founded.

Sanjay Mehta, a serial entrepreneur-turned angel investor, has also floated a new VC fund, 100X.VC in July this year, which is looking to invest in 100 early-stage startups in a span of one year.