Bangalore: Exfinity, the early-stage venture capital fund formed by technology industry veterans such as T.V. Mohandas Pai, Girish Paranjpe and V. Balakrishnan, is close to investing in three technology start-ups after closing the fund with a corpus of about Rs.100 crore.
Exfinity, which focuses on software product start-ups and does not plan to invest in traditional IT services, will invest about Rs.5-10 crore in each of the three units and plans to fund at least 15 early-stage start-ups in the next 18 months.
Balakrishnan said Exfinity was aiming for returns of at least 15-20% on the five-year fund. “It also depends on the quality of the companies we invest in. If one or two of our investments click, then obviously the returns will be higher,” he said.
The three start-ups are based in Silicon Valley, Bangalore and Mumbai, and focus on areas such as power efficiency, analytics and unmanned aerial drones. Balakrishnan declined to name the three companies.
Exfinity said the fund was fully subscribed and attracted a range of investors including institutional investors, top technology executives, industrialists and family offices. Balakrishnan said Exfinity will look to use about 10% of its corpus on funding early-stage firms outside India, in line with the Reserve Bank of India rules that permit a limited amount of foreign investments.
The fund was started with the idea of helping IT industry executives who wanted to turn entrepreneurs after leaving large companies like Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd. “That was the initial idea, but now we’ve broadened the scope to invest in any start-up that has a cutting-edge idea that has the potential to be scaled globally,” said Balakrishnan, who sold nearly Rs.33 crore worth of shares in Infosys to help fund Exfinity.
He spent more than two decades at Infosys in a wide range of roles before quitting to join the Aam Aadmi Party. Last year, Mohandas Pai- and Ranjan Pai-led Aarin Capital invested in an accelerator fund called the Habit Fund, which invests in early-stage social media, mobile and cloud computing start-ups.