India Dealbook: Apus to invest $15m in Indian startups; Ashoka University raises $7.5m from HNIs

Visual from Apus website

China’s Apus group plans to invest $15 million in Indian startups as part of its strategy to build a positive startup ecosystem in the country. In a separate development, Ashoka University, a private liberal arts university, has raised $7.5 million from six high net worth individuals from outside India.

China’s Apus to invest $15m in Indian startups

China’s Apus group plans to invest $15 million (about Rs 100 crore) in Indian startups as part of its strategy to build a positive ecosystem for the fast-growing startup community in the country, as per a report in PTI.

As part of its investment strategy, the company will offer an open platform to all startups and will aim to deliver the right guidance and resources till the time they gain enough exposure in their targeted markets.

“The group will offer support to these companies via programmes focussed on developing and building a positive ecosystem for their growth. These programmes will range from providing incubation to free Apus traffic,” the company said in a statement.

“Startups shortlisted under this programme will also have access to tools and experts helping them to enhance decision-making capabilities,” it said.

Apus group is an Android application development company founded in 2014 by former Qihoo vice-president Li Tao. The company makes applications such as Apus Launcher, Apus Boost, Apus Search etc. which make up its User System.

The company claims to have 200 million monthly active users across all of its apps. It has over 25 million users from India and targets 80 million users by 2016 by setting up a local operation centre and also by providing more localised service and experience to Indian users and augment India specific content.

Ashoka University raises $7.5m more from HNIs

Ashoka University, a private liberal arts university, has raised $7.5 million (about Rs 50 crore) from six high net worth individuals (HNIs) from outside India, as per a report in The Economic Times.

The latest round takes the total fund-raising by the university to over Rs 400 crore from 65 individuals since its inception.

HNIs who funded the latest round include Info Edge chairman and Caldera Pacific managing partner Kapil Kapoor, YoNao Capital MD Rahul Mookerjee, Broad Peak Investment Advisers managing partner Sandeep Gupta, Khattar Wong founder and Khattar Holdings chairman Sat Pal Khattar, SWAT Capital managing partner and IGATE co-founder Ashok Trivedi, and Carobar Business Solutions CEO Anita Manwani.

Located in Sonepat (Haryana), Ashoka University started its first batch in 2014.

The university is looking to raise additional 350 crore to fund its project over the next 18 months. The number of contributors for the project will eventually rise to more than 100, making it the largest collective philanthropic initiative in higher education in India.

Top industrialists and entrepreneurs including Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, investor and chairman, RARE Enterprises, and Dilip Shanghvi, founder and managing director of Sun Pharmaceuticals too have contributed to the university in the past.

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.