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Inventus Capital to seal deal early 2008

Mumbai: An Indo-US venture capital (VC) firm Inventus Capital Partners, set up by Silicon Valley-based angel investor and founding father of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Kanwal Rekhi, is all set for take-off.

The firm has just wrapped up its first fund-raiser for its $125 million fund (Rs.492.5 crore). Inventus Capital is likely to announce its first deal in the opening quarter of 2008. The firm will invest in technology start-ups that straddle India and the US, with headquarters and operations in either market.

Rekhi did not disclose the amount that has been raised by Inventus so far, but said it was a substantial part of the total targeted corpus. The firm, which has a four-member investment team, will have headquarters in Menlo Park, California, and Bangalore. Rekhi and John Dougery will head operations in Silicon Valley, while Samir Kumar and Saurabh Srivastavam, who will work part-time with the firm, will manage investments in India.

“There is a need for investments in cross-border start-ups,” said Rekhi. “It has been tried before, but the timing was not right during the last round of VC investing. Inventus’ investments will be directed chiefly into embedded software, mobile services, knowledge process outsourcing and intellectual property (IP)-development intensive start-ups. Deal sizes will range between $1 and $3 million and may go up to $8 million selectively. It expects to invest in 15-20 such companies over the next three years. Rekhi brings over three decades of experience as a serial entrepreneur in the Valley to Indian start-ups. However, he said that it is now an opportune moment to set up a fund here because India has become a major part of the investment cycle for venture capitalists from developed markets. “It is hard to do angel investing sitting so far away,” he said. “You need on-ground presence.”

Inventus’ launch now also has much to do with the fact that Rekhi sees “a lot more start-up activity in the next few years. Early proof of success was the Info Edge (India) Ltd–’s initial public offering.” Rekhi has closely been involved with venture capital and start-ups in India for more than a decade. In 1999, he helped kick-start the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology (KReSIT), which now also incubates technology start-ups.


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