Kerala state government's nodal agency for entrepreneurship development and startup activities, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), has invited request for proposal (RFP) from SEBI-accredited alternative investment funds (AIFs) under its ‘Fund-of-Fund’ (FoF) scheme.

Selected AIFs will receive funds from the State Government to invest in the startups from Kerala and thus meet the fund requirements of fledgling technology enterprises.

KSUM has invited the RFP online and the details are available at - Interested AIFs who meet the pre-qualification criteria can submit their expression of interest on or before November 30. After completing the bid process, the final selections will be announced on December 29.

The State Government had launched the Kerala Startup Corpus Fund, a first-of-its-kind initiative in India. A total corpus fund of ₹25 crore was then created with the support of two SEBI-registered AIFs -- Unicorn Ventures India, and SEA Fund. Out of this ₹25 crore, an amount of ₹12.5 crore was contributed by the State Government, and the other half by the two AIFs.

So far, seven investments have been made into startups based out of Kerala, using the Kerala Startup Corpus Fund. One of the startups funded (by Unicorn India Ventures) was Genrobotics, which developed Bandicoot, a robotic system to clean sewers/manholes instead of manual scavenging. Besides, Unicorn India Ventures also made two more investment in Kerala-based startups -- SectorQube and Perfectfit Fashion. The Fund has been actively exploring investment in Kerala post partnering with KSUM.

The objective of the present RFP is to make additional investment into eligible AIFs for supporting exclusively the emerging startups in the State through venture investments, said Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM.

More than 200 startups are presently working from KSUM’s five incubation facilities at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kasargod.

In September last year, chief executive of the KSUM, Saji Gopinath, had announced that it is targeting a corpus of Rs 500 crore under its FoF scheme over the next three years, which will be for Kerala-based startups.

Source - Business Line

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