Early-stage venture fund pi Ventures, which invests in disruptive Artificial Intelligence and DeepTech startups, has received a commitment of INR 100 Crores or 15% of the corpus out of Fund of Funds for Startups managed by SIDBI. This is nearly ~2.5 times what FFS had invested in the first fund.
The investment comes soon after pi Ventures announced an investment of INR 22 crores from Belgium’s Colruyt Group in its second fund. In Jan 2022, the company announced the first close of its second fund at INR 303.5Cr (USD 40 Mn), raising funds from entrepreneurs, HNIs and Family Offices from across the globe. With the commitment out of FFS, the fund is on track to do its final close in the second quarter of CY 2023 in the range of 675Cr to 750Cr. The fund is backed by BII, Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF (NIDIA), Accel, Colruyt and entrepreneurs & family offices such as Binny Bansal, Varun Alagh, Samit Shetty, Rajesh Ranavat,, Anupam Mittal, Hemendra Kothari, Hitesh Oberoi, Ullas Kamath, Deep Kalra, senior leaders from IBM, Facebook and Google among others.
pi Ventures will continue to focus on early-stage (seed/ pre-Series A/Series A) investments via this fund. Their strategy will be to invest in start-ups focused on disruptive AI and other forms of deep tech across sectors including, but not limited to Blockchain, Spacetech, Biotech and Material Science among others. So far pi ventures have committed to seven startups – ImmunitoAI, Ottonomy.IO, Silence Laboratories, Preimage, and three other ventures. Fund plans to invest in 20-25 such startups in the coming two to three years.
Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) was unveiled by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on January 16, 2016, in line with the Start-up India Action Plan. It has a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore for contribution to various Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) registered with SEBI. Introduced with a focused objective of supporting the development and growth of innovation-driven enterprises, FFS facilitates funding needs for startups through participation in the capital of SEBI-registered Alternative Investment Funds.
SIDBI acting as an operating manager for the Fund of Funds for Start-ups (FFS) program (https://www.sidbivcf.in/) is working with the vision to encourage the Government agenda of boosting entrepreneurship by providing indirect funding to emerging Start-ups through the provision of funds to Venture Capital (VC) Funds present in the Indian Start-up Ecosystem.
“We are delighted to welcome FFS again in our second fund. The confidence in our team and our investment strategy reinforces our commitment to support talented entrepreneurs who are creating disruptive products that solve fundamental real-world problems with innovative technology-backed solutions,” said Manish Singhal, Founding Partner, pi Ventures.
Established in 2016 by Manish Singhal, pi Ventures closed its Fund I of ₹225 Cr (USD 30 Mn) in 2018. The first fund exceeded its target and was oversubscribed and has backed 15 deep tech startups including Niramai, Pixis, Wysa, Agnikul, and Locus to name a few. The second fund was launched in March 2021 with a base target corpus of INR 675Cr (USD 90Mn) and including green shoe a target of INR 750Cr (USD 100 Mn).