Prof Soumyo Mukherji, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay has joined Unicorn India Ventures as an Advisor, Investor Committee. Professor Mukherji comes with over two decades of academic experience at IIT Bombay where he also is a senior faculty in the bioscience and bioengineering department. At Unicorn India, Prof Mukherji will be involved in guiding the team in making investment decisions in Electronic System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) sector, which includes companies working in technologies like robotics, cyber security, IoT, nanotech and medical devices.

Prof Mukherji will also mentor the portfolio companies currently working in this space. Speaking on his appointment in the Investment Committee, Prof Soumyo Mukherji, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, says, “For an ecosystem to grow, collaboration between industry and academia is a must as it helps both the entities to learn from each other and stay ahead of the curve. For a VC fund to take a lead on this in India shows how our ecosystem is maturing. I’m delighted to be a part of the Unicorn India team and look forward to meeting their portfolio companies with focus on ESDM.”

Unicorn India has invested in ESDM companies like NeuroEquilibrium, GenRobotic, Sequretek and continues to scout for more companies in the segment.

Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures, says, “We count ESDM as one of the focus areas for our equity fund and there are new business getting launched in this space. Thus, having a mentor on-board helps the Fund to scout for high potential companies and even help portfolio companies grow faster. Having an accomplished academician like Prof Mukherji will ensure that we are far more well informed when evaluating investment proposals from hi-tech startups.”

Prof Soumyo Mukherji has been associated with IIT Bombay since 1997. He is a professor in biosciences and bioengineering. His research areas include biosensors and bioinstrumentation and cardiac electrophysiology. Prof MUkherji graduated from IIT Kharagpur with a degree in instrumentation engineering and his from Colorado State University. He is a PhD holder from University of North Carolina. He started as an assistant professor, biomedical engineering and is currently Dean, IITB. Prof Mukherji has been honoured with Board of Governors Fellowship of the University of North Carolina. He has also won many prestigious awards like Jagadish Bose Science Talent Search and DST Young Scientist Award. Prof Mukherji has published numerous papers on a range of topics under biosciences. He also holds many patents for his work in the area.

Globally, in the US and Europe, VC funds and corporates usually work with accomplished academicians, top universities to find the next disruptive idea. In India, the top institutions and universities run their incubators, which have seen many startups getting launched but a partnership between a fund and a top college is not a common practice. Unicorn India Ventures is endeavoring to take the first step in this direction, says, Anil Joshi, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures.

Started in 2015 by Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar, Unicorn India Ventures is a Mumbai ­based VC fund that invests in early stage startups working on business ideas spanning sectors like consumer, enterprise, healthcare and deep technology domains. The fund has already announced investments in 15 startups like GenRobotic, SectorQube, Perfectfit,, Sequretek, SmartCoin, GrabonRent, Inc42, NeuroEquilibrium, VLCC VanityCube, Roder, and Pharmarack. The Fund recently announced its foray into venture debt by launching a Rs 600 crore venture debt fund.

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