Mumbai: Mumbai-based seed stage investor Artha Venture Fund plans to start an accelerator programme, wherein it will mentor and invest in a select bunch of startups, said a senior executive. The fund is looking for sponsors to set up a school for entrepreneurship within the next six months, and plans to train around 20 startups. It has almost finalized a deal with a major US university to partner the programme, said Anirudh Damani, managing partner, Artha Venture Fund.

The fund is backed by the Artha Group, which has business interests in renewable energy, innovative digital designs and a family-run investment office.

“There is a lot to learn about ethics and management from the western venture ecosystem. Indian entrepreneurs need to learn to delegate, and we hope these learnings can be taught from the programme," said Damani, adding that the startup accelerator model will be along the lines of US-based Y Combinator, a seed accelerator programme that backs two batches of startups a year, besides providing them with advice and networking opportunities in exchange for equity.

Artha Venture Fund has currently invested in two companies: tea startup Haazri and peer-to-peer lending startup LenDen Club. While Haazri raised 1.25 crore in seed funding last month, LenDen raised $250,000 in a pre-series A round. Damani expects to close the year with three more deals.

Artha Venture Fund-I had made its first close at 40 crore in July, and is targeting the final close at 200 crore. The fund will be deployed across 40-45 firms over the next four years, with an average ticket size of 1-1.5 crore for initial rounds, with 10.5 crore earmarked for follow-on rounds, said Damani.

The fund will focus on consumption, including retail, consumption enablers such as fintech, and business-to-business (B2B), he said. Healthcare is yet another sector that the fund is looking at. It will invest only in seed rounds, before following it up with Series A and B.

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