1Crowd, an India based early stage investment firm and startup ecosystem, has announced the first close of its debut venture capital fund at INR 23 crore (USD 3.5 million). The firm’s interests span across investments from the seed to pre Series A spectrum, incubation programs and virtual acceleration programs.

1Crowd began its journey by setting up an equity crowd funding platform in September 2015, bringing to market a differentiated investment model where it leads every investment and invites investor members on the platform to participate in the investment on the same terms. The firm has completed over 15 investments, including participation in 3 follow-on rounds for its portfolio companies. These investments are in areas such as FinTech, healthcare, education, enterprise technology and deep technology (including BioTech, NanoTech and CleanTech).

The fund has a target corpus of INR 75 crore, including a greenshoe option of INR 25 crore. It is uniquely positioned to co-invest with the equity crowd funding platform, effectively anchoring each investment with 30-50% of the total funding round. The fund is largely sector agnostic and plans to invest in approximately 20 companies. While 1Crowd seeks to invest roughly USD 500,000 in first round investments, it will look to increase its stakes in subsequent rounds for some of its investee companies.

The firm’s investor base includes prolific angel investors such as Ganesh Natarajan (Chairman, 5F World), Dr Aniruddha Malpani (leading IVF specialist), Krishnakumar Natarajan (Co-founder & Executive Chairman, Mindtree), MA Ravi Kumar (former CEO, American India Foundation), Dr Venkat Srinivasan (serial entrepreneur based in Boston who founded EnglishHelper, eCredit and Rage Frameworks), and Vivek Sharma (CEO of a global pharma services company based in Boston). Several captains and accomplished professionals across the spectrum of banking, private equity, information technology, healthcare, consumer and academia are backers of 1Crowd.

“We’re delighted with the positive reception from investors. The fund offers investors a unique strategy to optimize capital invested and maximize returns. The fund would invest in tandem with 1Crowd’s equity crowdfunding platform, building a diversified portfolio. Fund investors may co-invest via the platform at inception and in subsequent rounds, growing positions in portfolio companies that are successful” said AnilGudibande, Co-founder of 1Crowd.

“The 1Crowd fund is one of the few funds approved under SEBI’s revised Angel Fund guidelines and we would like to congratulate SEBI on this initiative. This is one more tool in our toolkit to support India’s nascent startup ecosystem and is targeted not at the super wealthy but at the growing affluent middle class which is seeking to make returns from startup investing and diversifying away from traditional investment classes like real estate or the public equity markets. We are now beginning to establish ourselves as a serious player in the startup ecosystem with an outstanding team of investment professionals backed by committed accredited investors in both the 1Crowd platform and 1Crowd fund,who have demonstrated their belief in us and Indian startups by consistently supporting our initiatives with their capital” said Anup Kuruvilla, Co-founder of 1Crowd.

1Crowd’s investment framework seeks to identify promising early stage ventures at the cusp of knowledge and technology, backed by high quality founding teams, regardless of the sector or industry they operate in. The firm has a sharp focus on actively supporting its portfolio companies in the areas of overall strategy, business development, sales & marketing, organization building and financial management. 1Crowd’s portfolio companies include Creditas Solutions (FinTech), Idea Bubbles (healthcare), Nanosniff Technologies (nanotechnology), Nuvepro (enterprise technology) and Zipgrid (tech-led managed services).

Additionally, Bangalore-based community building platform Fourth Ambit, which recently tied-up with AICTE, also raised $600,000 from 1Crowd in May 2017. Prior to this, Genext Students — India’s first hybrid ed-tech tutoring platform — raised equity financing of $ 200,000 from 1Crowd, in August 2016.

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