Tata Sons Ltd’s chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, in partnership with the University of California, is setting up a Venture Capital fund with a corpus of around $100-150 million and has already started scouting for startups to invest in, three people aware of the development told DealStreetAsia.
In February, RNT Associates, the privately held Investment firm of Ratan Tata, and the chief investment officer’s office of the University of California, announced a partnership to jointly fund startups and early-stage enterprises in India over the next 10 years.
“They registered a fund with the markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India in June as a category II alternative investment fund, under the name UC-RNT Fund. The vehicle, apart from contributions from RNT Associates and University of California, will also look to raise third-party capital. They are looking at a corpus of $100-150 million for the fund,” said one of the three people cited above.
This is not the first time when Ratan Tata is seeking to set up in a partnership. In June, Singapore-based Venture Capital Firm Jungle Ventures joined hands with RNT Associates, Accel Partners (India) and Infocomm Investments Pte. Ltd to start SeedPlus, a seed-stage venture capital firm based in the city-state.
Tata has spent almost two years investing his personal wealth directly in technology startups both in India and overseas through RNT Associates. Tata has invested in around 30 startups in the last two years, including Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Pvt. Ltd), Urban Ladder (Home Décor Solutions Pvt. Ltd), Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd), Zivame (Actoserba Active Wholesale Pvt. Ltd) and many others across sectors such as healthcare, financial inclusion and e-commerce.
This year, he has made investment in startups like Lenskart, MadRat Games, niki.ai, Kyazoonga and San Francisco-based medical emergency response startup MUrgency Inc.
The Tata-University of California partnership has already started scouting for potential investments and they are looking at investments in the ticket size of around $10-15 million. However, initially they are also looking at writing smaller cheques of around $5 million.
The fund, which already has a core team in place, is also in the market to hire people.
As per a report published by Venture Intelligence, venture capital investments in the first six months of 2016 were down to $634 million from $958 million in the same period last year.
Now the entry of the Tata-University of California fund and other funds including Unicorn India Ventures, Pravega Ventures, Stellaris Venture Partners, WaterBridge Ventures, Endiya Partners and Parampara Capital, would offer relief to the startup ecosystem in India that has seen a slowdown in funding this year.