Mumbai: Unicorn India Ventures, an early-stage investment fund, has achieved the so called first close of 40 crore, according to the venture capital (VC) fund’s founders Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar.

A fund-raising firm announces first close of its funds to release the fund and start investing. It will continue to seek investment to funds till the final closing.

The VC fund is looking to raise 100 crore for its Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) registered fund by April before the final closing, said Joshi in an interview. “We are also looking at raising funds from overseas investors and that will take the overall fund corpus to close to 150 crore," said Joshi.

The fund received the regulator’s approval in July last year, Mint reported.

Founders Joshi and Majumdar have been making early stage investments in start-ups in India and the UK. Joshi was heading operations at individual investor groups like Mumbai Angels and Bangalore Angels.

Unicorn India Ventures’ announcement of its first close comes at a time when the Indian VC industry recorded its best year so far in 2015. VC funding touched $5.4 billion (across 473 VC deals) in 2015, as against investment of $2.3 billion (across 307 deals) in 2014.

However, in the last few months, the Indian start-up ecosystem is witnessing a churn with several start-ups laying off employees, scaling back operations or shutting down due to their inability to raise funds.

“We feel that is a good opportunity for investors to invest in good quality companies at a fair market value," said Joshi.

The fund has raised its first-close corpus from almost 20 investors, he said, adding that they are looking to start deploying capital in start-ups in the next few weeks. Apart from tapping traditional technology investors, the fund has also raised money from large old economy family offices.

“We consciously approached several of the old economy HNIs as these are individuals who have created successful listed businesses and we felt that there will be significant value-add for entrepreneurs we invest in, as the skill sets these people bring to the table are quite different from what traditional tech investors/entrepreneurs bring," said Majumdar, adding that the fund is also in talks with several institutional investors.

The early-stage fund’s prime focus will be on cloud based B2B businesses, added Majumdar. “We are seeing that more and more industry people are now coming forward and starting businesses in the B2B space, especially cloud led B2B services," he said, adding that the fund is looking at such businesses in the media, pharma and fin-tech industries and in the Internet of Things (IoT) space. The fund will also make limited investments in consumer Internet start-ups, he added.

Unicorn India ventures plans to invest around 50 lakh to 1 crore in 25-30 companies and will use a majority of its corpus to back the winners from its portfolio with cheques of up to 10 crore in subsequent rounds, said Joshi.

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