Despite the current fog of uncertainty, COVID-19 has come as a blessing in disguise for a slew of startups.
“For companies that are profitable, it’s a good time to invest in product, technology and other new initiatives to differentiate the product or service and gain market share,” said Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder and vice-chairman of Info Edge, which owns and operates India’s largest online job portal Naukri.com, and matrimonial site Jeevan Sathi.
The company that has backed Indian unicorns Zomato (food tech platform) and PolicyBazaar (online insurance aggregator) in their early days, is in talks to raise as much as Rs 750 crore ($100 million) for its debut venture capital fund that was launched earlier this year. Of the total corpus, it is planning to garner $50 million from Limited Partners (LPs) outside the company.
In January, Info Edge had first announced its plans to float a separate investment vehicle — much on the lines of corporates such as Infosys and Wipro.
Earlier, Info Edge was investing in the startup ecosystem from its balance sheet. “What started off as a small experiment on the side has over the years become a serious business,” said Bikhchandani in an interview with DealStreetAsia. “We have already started investing from the fund, Info Edge Ventures, early this year. We have closed six new investments while a couple of others are in pipeline,” he said.
Info Edge Ventures will focus on technology and technology-enabled startups as it seeks to be “the first or one of the first institutional investors into a company. We have the flexibility to come in at the idea stage or once the founders have been able to get early traction”. It plans to dole out first cheques in the range of $500,000-5 million depending on the stage of the company.