Former IFC exec's new VC Synapses bets on Indian STEM startups in climate, healthtech

Former IFC exec's new VC Synapses bets on Indian STEM startups in climate, healthtech

Synpases, which is targeting to raise up to $150 million for its debut investment vehicle, is bullish on Indian companies building products for the world.

“That’s where the opportunity lies,” said Ruchira Shukla, a former IFC executive who founded the climate and health tech firm alongside Sangam Ventures’ Karthik Chandrasekar to bridge the gap, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) innovations.

Sangam, a seed investment firm, also clocked investments in the climate sector.

“We will look at companies that have already seen early market traction, where the product and technology are proven so that the risks are lesser,” said Shukla, highlighting how the current economic landscape has led to a healthy correction in the market.

The climate space in India has seen a surge in investor interest over the past two years. According to Venture Intelligence data, as many as 13 climate-focused funds raised $719 million in 2023 compared to six funds that raised a whopping $989 million in 2022. The figures are way higher than the $90 million raised by two climate funds in 2021 and $31 million by one fund in 2020.

“There certainly are a lot of funds declaring a focus on climate,” said Chandrasekar. “But, some of them are focusing on climate-related digitization models, supply chain automation and large-scale project deployment, where there is a paucity of prudent technical due diligence,” he said indicating that there could be more room for correction in the months to come.

Synapses is looking to follow a platform approach where it plans to incubate besides running a separate seed funding programme, “both of which will nurture innovators to become investment ready for the VC fund we are raising,” said Shukla. “Our platform helps identify, curate and nurture companies for 3-4 years before they become investible by our VC Fund.”

Edited excerpts from the interview:

Edited by: Padma Priya

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