AngelList India head Somani launches micro-VC fund backed by Naval Ravikant, others

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AngelList India head Utsav Somani has launched a micro venture capital (VC) fund, iSeed, for his personal investments, according to an announcement.

While the size of the fund was not disclosed, industry sources pegged it at about $5 million.

iSeed garnered the backing of AngelList’s Naval Ravikant (one of the largest investors of the fund) and the founders of Xiaomi, Thumbtack, Flutter, Bolt and WikiHow, besides investments firms DST Global and Matrix Partners.

“My day job remains CEO of AngelList India while I run iSeed on nights and weekends,” said Somani.

The development comes at a time when fund managers are taking a cautious approach towards fresh investments amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has hampered businesses across diverse sectors.

iSeed plans to invest in about 30-35 technology startups and dole out cheques in the region of $150,000 to each of them.

“The investors in iSeed were carefully selected based on their knowledge and willingness to help portfolio companies scale. They can act as a bridge for Indian founders, who are increasingly targeting international customers and investors,” said Somani.

iSeed will be listed on AngelList, a US-based entity that had expanded its syndicate programme to India in 2018. AngelList’s portfolio companies include BharatPe, Open Bank, DealShare and Mall91, among others.

The concept of micro VCs is still at a nascent stage in India. Such funds typically invest in early-stage startups, along with angel investors or other venture funds.

Other micro VC funds in India include Better Capital, GrowX Ventures, 100X and First Cheque.

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.