IDG Ventures India partners Axilor to invest in tech start-ups

IDG Ventures says will focus on start-ups that are working on so-called deep technologies as part of its new Frontier Tech Innovators programme


Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys and Axilor Ventures. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys and Axilor Ventures. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Bengaluru: IDG Ventures India has forged an alliance with early-stage start-up accelerator and seed fund Axilor Ventures to invest in local technology start-ups and ventures that are working on disruptive ideas.

IDG Ventures said it would mostly focus on start-ups that are working on so-called deep technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, virtual reality and augmented reality as part of the new Frontier Tech Innovators programme.

“The Frontier Tech Innovators programme looks to discover disruptive software companies from India with a potential to dramatically change the global landscape. IDGVI has a strong track record of deep technology investments, including Active.ai, Sigtuple, Hansel.io, Infisecure, Forus, Perfint, Axio and Iviz,” said Sudhir Sethi, founder and chairman at IDG Ventures.

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Last year, IDG Ventures had launched a programme called the Digital Consumer Innovators Programme to invest in early-stage consumer Internet ventures in India. IDG’s India portfolio currently also includes e-commerce major Flipkart (through its investment in Myntra), Lenskart.com and online lingerie store Zivame.

“We are excited by the ambition of Indian entrepreneurs to build deep-tech solutions using frontier technologies to solve large problems in India and the world. Through this programme, Axilor will continue to support and mentor path-breaking entrepreneurs,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder of Infosys and chairman of Axilor Ventures.

Through this alliance, IDG and Axilor will typically fund start-ups at the seed and pre-Series A stage. IDG Ventures typically invests $500,000 to $1 million in early-stage deals and between $3 million to $5 million at the Series A stage.

Last year, IDG said it would raise $200 million as part of its third India fund and in January, closed the fund. Sanat Rao, a venture partner at IDG, said IDG plans to deploy a part of its third fund for investments in ventures that are part of the FTIP programme.

Over the past 12 months, a number of leading VC firms, including Accel Partners India and Sequoia Capital, have raised new funds.

This year is expected to be a crucial make-or-break year for a number of VC firms operating in India, as large exits have been hard to come by in recent years and they face increasing pressure from their limited partners to produce more exits from their earlier funds.

Axilor, which was launched by technology industry veterans including Gopalakrishnan and Infosys co-founder S.D. Shibulal, currently has a 100-day accelerator programme—it has so far nurtured 30 start-ups since it started operating in late 2014 and has invested in about 20 early-stage ventures. Axilor, which recently doubled the intake of its accelerator programme, supports start-ups from launch to scale, typically investing up to Rs3 crore for a minority stake; it has bet on sectors such as consumer internet, healthcare technology and fintech.

IDG Ventures India is part of the global IDG network that currently has over $7 billion at its disposal for start-up investments.

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