Mumbai-based early-stage tech-focused venture fund, Blume Ventures (Blume), is all set to launch venture capital fund exclusively for B2B (business-to-business) startups in India. For this, Blume has partnered with two US-based venture firms - Silicon Valley-based Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV) and Emergent Ventures, who will contribute to the fund.

Blume along with its US partners will also be launching accelerator platform -- Arka Venture Labs, in India to to help facilitate global transition and faster growth of B2B startups in India.

Arka Venture Labs, which would play dual role of "a fund" as well as a "Startup Accelerator platform", will provide seed and pre-seed capital of up to $200,000 for startups in the B2B space along with mentorship, infrastructure and access to the Silicon Valley ecosystem that will be critical in scaling up B2B startups in globally developed markets.

Initially, Arka Venture Labs and the fund have a corpus of about Rs 40 crore ($6 million) and has already achieved its first close. The platform has received interest from both Indian and US-based corporates, family offices and global high-net worth individuals and then the fund's corpus may go up in amount.

As Arka Venture Labs is joint venture of an Indian and two US-based venture firms, the platform will offer capital, cross-border ecosystem linkages and access to a global customer base to those tech-focused B2B startups that work in areas of retail, supply chain, robotics as also deep technology including artificial intelligence, big data and analytics amongst others under its platform.

To be eligible for Arka platform & fund, the startups are expected to have a minimum viable product with a strong potential to scale in the US and Europe with the platform looking to enable completion of the proof of concept (POC) within 6-9 months and have at least 1-2 paying clients on board. Going forward, the three funds will enable follow-on rounds for startups under this platform.

“We help Indian enterprise startups overcome the ‘trust gap’ that exists between them and customers, investors and acquirers alike when making a global transition. We plan to make Arka Venture Labs an open and collaborative platform to bring in all the help we need to bridge this trust gap for our companies,” said Yashwanth Hemaraj, investor at BGV and one of the founding partners at Arka Venture Labs.

"Once startups in B2B space look at developed markets like US and Europe for a client base, their scale of growth and profitability get an incredible boost due to such markets’ propensity for high profit margins and lesser sales cycles. Hence, we decided to create a platform early in startups’ life cycle to enable this growth path,” said Radhesh Kanumury, managing partner of Arka Venture Labs, also advisor to Blume.

Notably, about 40% of Blume Ventures’ portfolio in India consists of B2B startups including Grey Orange Robotics, Exotel, Belong and Instamojo, among others.

In April, Blume led $1.3 million investment in BeatO, a Delhi-based tech-enabled diabetes management startup. Prior to this, it has led $1 million pre-series A round of funding of Pitstop, an after-sales car service provider, in September 2017.

Source - Economic Times

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