Ex-Norwest exec floats $300m growth fund to bet on startups in India, SEA

Mohan Kumar

Avataar Capital Management, led by former Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) executive Mohan Kumar, has floated a $300-million venture capital growth fund to bet on business-to-business (B2B) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies in India and Southeast Asia.

Global private investment firm HarbourVest Partners is the sole sponsor of the fund.

The fund – Avataar Venture Partners I – will focus on making $10-30 million growth-stage investments in companies that have at least $15 million of annual recurring revenues and are looking to scale globally, Avataar said in a statement on Monday.

The fund has already acquired stakes in six B2B, SaaS companies, namely Appnomic, Capillary, CRMNext, ElasticRun, Manthan and Zenoti from Norwest Venture Partners, it added.

“The focus of the fund is primarily India as it is the hub for B2B and SaaS startups. While over 90 per cent of the fund would be invested in India, it would also look at deal opportunities in other Asian markets including Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam,” said Kumar in an exclusive interaction with DealStreetAsia.

“While we have already invested in six companies till date, the fund would look at a maximum of 10 more investments,” Kumar added.

At NVP, Mohan advised investments in Attune Technologies, Borqs, Capillary Technologies, CRMnext, iProf, Manthan Systems, NationWide Primary Healthcare Services, Ovum, Perfint Healthcare, and Zenoti. As an angel investor, he is active in helping startup companies in areas of mobile solutions, content and applications.

Apart from Kumar, other key partners in Avataar include Nishant Rao, ex-COO of Freshworks.

According to Kumar, capital is merely not enough and startup founders today need additional support in terms of operational management.

“We really need to work with the founders, help them primarily in sales and marketing, with CXO level connects, and deeply with product road map and sales process planning. Avataar will provide capital, and this support as well.” Edited Excerpts:

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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.