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Coronavirus pandemic | Indian VCs set up Rs 100 crore fund to support startups

The fund comprises marquee investors like Sequoia Capital, Accel, Matrix Partners and Kalaari Capital.

March 30, 2020 / 04:38 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

India's top venture capitalists have come together to set up a Rs 100 crore fund to help startups which are at the forefront of developing services and products to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, according to two people aware of the development.

Large VCs and active angel investors are expected to participate in the fund.

Four major VC firms - Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Accel and Kalaari Capital - have been roped in to anchor the fund, said one of the persons mentioned above. Anchor investors generally contribute the most to a fund.

"More than 40 percent of the fund size has already been subscribed to within the first few days. The fund could close soon and can be deployed to help startups working in sectors which can directly help fight the virus," said the person mentioned above.

Moneycontrol could not immediately ascertain the exact split of the fund between institutional investors and angels.

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The VC funds did not respond to email queries sent by Moneycontrol. The copy will be updated once they revert.

The nascent Indian startup ecosystem has been badly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. From  supply chains being disrupted to deals getting stuck, entrepreneurs are facing multiple challenges.

This prompted the start of dialogues between top investors, government officials and prominent entrepreneurs, looking to help the startups tide over this crisis.

Moneycontrol had earlier reported that VCs are also coming together to address queries and doubts for all Indian startups in these difficult times. Invest India, which is a facilitation agency for investments in the country has created a separate website for this. The Business Immunity Platform, united against Covid19: has been created to cater to all the requirements for startups. Not only are their queries getting addressed, the government is also encouraging tech startups to work on innovative solutions which can help fight the contagious virus.

"This fund will act as a major boost to players who can work on solutions and products to help fight Covid19, while there are platforms for them to showcase their technology solutions, the fund will help them scale up and innovate faster," said the second person mentioned above.

In an effort to get entrepreneurs across the country to pitch in, DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Investment and Internal Trade) with Startup India has called for innovative technologies for precautionary as well as treatment-related interventions mainly to address the impending healthcare challenge.

The government is specifically looking at solutions around protective equipment, contactless access, large area sanitisation, geofencing, crowd management and others.

There are multiple startups which are working across the spectrum to help consumers and the country overall in this tough situation.

For instance, health tech startups like Mfine are working on using telemedicine, artificial intelligence to detect Covid19 symptoms. Agva Healthcare, a Delhi based startup is trying to ramp up its production of a cost effective ventilator which can help address the shortfall of these instruments in the country, while 3D printing startups are creating components for helping hospitals treat patients.

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Pratik Bhakta
M. Sriram
M. Sriram
first published: Mar 30, 2020 04:12 pm