India: Seed investment platform Venture Catalysts raises $500k from Zaffiro

Venture Catalysts, a Mumbai-based seed investment platform, has raised $500,000 from Zaffiro Ventures as it looks to expand its presence to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi and Raipur among others in the next three years.

The firm, founded by Anil Jain, Anuj Golecha, Apoorva Sharma and Gaurav Jain, does seed investments of Rs.75 lakh to Rs.1.5 crore in early stage start-ups in sectors such as Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, ad-tech, virtual reality, education, e-commerce and retail.

“The fund will be utilized to help expand to five cities in 2016 and extend its reach to another five cities in two years’ time horizon,” said Sharma.

According to Sharma, this round will put the firm at post-money valuation of Rs.40 crore. Venture Catalysts will also use the funds to provide support to start-ups in four aspects: incubation, co-working space, corporate partnerships and access to angel network that facilitates in generating business for the start-up.

In the next one year, the company aims to open five co-working spaces in Mumbai alone. The firm currently has strategic partnerships with Cox and Kings Ltd and Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd among others to give start-ups access to work with these partners who can provide strategic guidance, strategic investment, lead generation, said Sharma.

Launched in January, Venture Catalysts has created a network of over 600 angels, made 10 investments and raised more than $3 million for start-ups. Their portfolio of start-ups includes photography curation venture Siftr Labs Pvt. Ltd, data analytics firm vPhrase Analytics Solutions Pvt. Ltd, peer-to-peer lending start-up LenDenClub (Innofin Solutions Pvt. Ltd), among others. They plan to expand their portfolio by 10-15 start-up investments in the next one year, said Sharma.

The firm is not only aiming to expand in metros but also cities such as Ahmedabad, Raipur.

The firm most recently launched in Surat on 18 June. The company now expects to add 100 new angel investors in the coming few months from Surat by giving investors access to start-ups from across the country. Each angel investor invests Rs.50 lakh to Rs.1 crore annually into a start-up via Venture Catalyst.

In December last year, Mint reported that the firm was looking to raise Rs.100 crore to create their own fund to invest in at least 20 start-ups. Raising that fund is still under process, said Sharma.

The current fund-raising will go into the operations and expansion of Venture Catalysts.

Founded by entrepreneurs Revathi Roy and Jagdish Gothi, this is Zaffiro Ventures’ first investment in the country.

“After interacting with the Venture Catalysts founders we learnt how robust the end-to-end ecosystem is built to support and nurture new-age tech businesses. Hence instead of re-inventing the wheel by creating a new platform, creating synergies is a well-thought process,” Roy said in a statement.

Between January and March, angel and seed funding increased 33% to 189 deals, according to a report published by NewsCorp VC Edge, “Start Up India 2016”.

The report states that the total value of start-up funding deals decreased 50% to $301 million during the same period. At the given rate of funding, as many as 1,000 start-ups could get funded by the end of 2016.

Also read:

India: P2P lending platform LenDenClub gets angel funding via Venture Catalysts

Exclusive: India’s Venture Catalysts plans offline Series A platform by April end, $15m fund also in the works

This story was first published on Livemint