Mindtree co-founders raise Rs 320 cr for early-stage seed fund

Mela Ventures, an alternative investment fund (AIF) founded by Mindtree co-founders Krishnakumar Natarajan and Parthasarathy NS, has closed its first fund raising Rs 320 crore.

The fund, which will invest in early-stage startups, was oversubscribed to 1.6 times its original target. It has received capital commitments from a diverse group of global investors, government institutions, technology professionals and family offices.

Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF (NIDIA) and SIDBI Fund of Funds for Startups also participated in the fund, which plans to make 16 to 18 investments in early stage start-ups.

While Mela Ventures will focus on investing in early-stage B2B start-ups, a few select Series A/B start-ups will also be considered for investment. Additionally, given the changing landscape of the venture capital ecosystem and increasing traction in the B2B space, the fund will also consider a relatively larger ticket size of up to $2 million. .

Incidentally, Mela Ventures has already invested in four start-ups so far – FirstHive, Voiro, General Aeronautics and Infilect – and will make three more investments in the next two months. The fund seeks to build a portfolio of companies in segments such as AI/ML, AR/VR, IoT, cloud migration and deep technologies.

“We have made great strides towards our mission to build next-generation entrepreneurs out of India,” said managing partner Natarajan.

“Over the past 18 months, we’ve invested in four forward-thinking organizations, onboarded a coveted team of advisors, and put in place strong governance mechanisms. This is the main reason why we are getting an overwhelming response to the fund, even in these trying times,” he added.

In a similar context, Managing Partner Parthasarathy said the last 18 months have shown that India has enormous entrepreneurial talent ready to push the boundaries of technology and business.

“We have a broad footprint of opportunity ahead of us and believe we are on the right path to enable more category leaders. Beyond investments, our initiatives such as FoundrPwr aim to inspire existing and future entrepreneurs to think beyond the usual,” Parthasarathy said.

Incidentally, Parthasarathy and Natarajan – who co-founded Mindtree in 1999 – have invested in start-ups on a personal basis over the past few years.

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