Online startup platform GREX in talks to raise institutional round, to launch venture debt

Pune-based GREX Alternative Investments Market Pvt Ltd, that helps startups and unlisted companies raise funding from private investors, is in talks with institutional investors to raise a funding, Abhijeet Bhandari, co-founder of GREX told DEALSTREETASIA.

Founded in 2012 by Manish Kumar, Abhijeet Bhandari, Sanjay Nishank and Surojit Nandy, the company last year raised Rs 4 crore in its first round from Kunal Bajaj, MSCI’s Chandru Badrinarayanan and a group of unnamed investors.

GREX has got several fresh plans up its sleeve such as launching a venture debt service and also a secondary market on its platform.

Abhijeet Bhandari, co-founder, spoke to DEALSTREETASIA about the online startup-investor platform’s plans for 2016. Edited excerpts:

How many startups are there on board currently?

We have more than 500 companies who have applied to us and they are in various stages of registration. The due diligence process is on. At GREX, the companies go through different stages from registration to “Go Live” with higher and stricter norms of due diligence

What is the target for this year?

We would like to have more than 100 companies at “Live” stage out of which 50 companies should be able to raise funds. This is only about the equity segment. On the debt side, the numbers will be far higher.

What is the quantum of investment you are seeking in the next round?

We have done a small private round of investment. But from April, we would like to engage in a larger institutional round. We have already initiated talks with some of them.

Who all participated in the round?

The investors with us are from varied professional background including finance, marketing, media, IT, etc. We have some very senior professionals, leading organisations, who have put in money.

By when will GREX launch the venture debt service?

It is expected to start in April as we are fine tuning some remaining issues with our institutional partners.

How do you select a startup for investment?

GREX is a neutral and unbiased platform. We do a multi-stage due diligence process for companies and lay a rule and by laws framework, to be adhered to by the companies till the time they are with GREX. Fund raising process also follows some strict rules (Companies Act norms of private placement apply) and timelines which any company has to keep in mind when they are triggering any primary capital raise (PCR) process. But, at the end of the day, it is between the company and the investors at GREX to talk to each other and take an informed decision to invest. GREX does not solicit any investment for the companies on boarded with us.

What is the investment strategy you recommend for funds on your platform?

We recommend our investors that they should have a wider and diverse portfolio of unlisted companies and not just put all eggs in one basket.

What are the interesting investible sectors according to you?

As mentioned, since we are a neutral and unbiased platform, we are sector-agnostic. We have companies in solar, technology and telecom space.

What is the ticket size of transaction that take place on GREX?

GREX, as a platform, is designed for companies to raise capital at any stage of their life time. So early stage companies would need small amount of fund and later stage companies will need larger funds. Also the nature of funds i.e. equity or debt. Currently we are seeing fund raise happening in the Rs 1-2 crore range. But some of the companies which are lined up, want to raise around Rs 5 crore. So, as a platform we slowly build the market for the companies to raise large funds and that will happen as we will onboard institutions who can invest in these companies.

At what stage do you prefer to exit from a startup?

As mentioned above we are a platform and we do not invest in companies. So no question of our exit. But we are building a secondary market (to be launched soon) where investors in companies can exit.

Also Read: 

India: Crowdfunding platform BitGiving raises funds from angels

Thailand: Meefund aims to raise $1.13m in funding for projects on its crowdfunding platform in 2016

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.