Mumbai-based impact investor Ankur Capital is gearing up to launch a new fund of up to $50 million in the next few months, which will provide the investment firm the bandwidth to cut bigger cheques.
“We are in the midst of doing a couple of deals from the old fund. Only after we announce those (deals) can we announce the official launch of the fund,” Ankur Capital co-founder Rema Subramanian told DEALSTREETASIA in an interview.
“We are targeting to raise around $40-50 million,” she added.
The venture capital firm had closed its first fund in 2016 with a corpus of Rs 50 crore from multiple Indian and overseas investors. From the first fund, the company has already invested in 11 companies and is looking to close a couple more deals soon.
“Close to 70 per cent of the fund has been utilised across 11 companies,” she said.
The fund was founded by Subramanian and Ritu Verma in 2014. Subramanian has more than three decades of experience in building and scaling operations across various sectors while Verma has worked with Unilever, Philips and Truven.
While the company is focused on innovative businesses in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, education, skill development and rural access, most of its investments have been in its core focus areas of agritech and healthcare. The next couple of investments, however, are likely to be in the education space, Subramanian said.
The new larger fund will also see the company broaden its focus to include areas such as fintech and technology with a far-reaching impact.
Ankur Capital typically invests up to Rs 5 crore at the seed stage, including follow-on rounds through its current fund, and the new fund will provide the investment firm deeper pockets to increase its cheque sizes to up to Rs 15 crore, according to Subramanian.
“We will not do later stage deals. We will still do early stage deals, but we will cut larger size cheques from the new fund. We would also be doing mezzanine kind of deals from this fund,” she said.
“We will be seed stage or early stage investor, we might participate in a Series A but not later than that. Series B would be a follow-on for some of our companies,” she added.
Most recently, Ankur Capital invested in medicinal herbs supplier Carmel Organics and agritech startup Agricx Lab. Other firms in its portfolio include Chennai-based training simulator maker Skillveri, agro-input firm Suma Agro, ERC Eye Care, assisted telemedicine based firm Karma Healthcare, cold chain technology startup Tessol, agri e-commerce startup BigHaat and CropIn Technology, a cloud-based platform to help farmers and buyers track their produce across the production chain.
From the new fund, Ankur Capital is looking to add another 15-18 companies to its portfolio.
Impact investment has been gaining momentum in the last few years, with mainstream VCs also looking at follow-on rounds in startups focused on social impact. In February this year, another agriculture and food tech-focused venture capital firm Omnivore Partners reached the first close of its second fund at $46 million. Omnivore is targeting a total of $75 million for its second fund and plans to complete fundraising by August 2018.
Recently, Seattle and Bengaluru-based early-stage impact investor Unitus Seed Fund was reported to have raised $12.9 million for its second investment vehicle, which is targeted to close at around Rs 300 crore ($46 million).
It was also reported that food and agribusiness sector-focused investor Rabo Equity Advisors is planning to raise around $400 million to step up its investments in India.
“Today investors realise that there is no difference in regular investing and impact investing. It’s just that the focus of the companies or sectors that we select has an underlying impact theme to it,” said Subramanian.