Mumbai: Bharat Innovation Fund, an early-stage, deep-tech and intellectual property-focused venture fund, affiliated with the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, has made the first close of its fund at $50 million.

It is targeting a $100 million corpus.

The fund has managed to secure commitments from institutional investors, including corporates, banks, insurers and fund of funds such as Sidbi, ICICI Lombard, Philips, Bajaj Electricals Ltd and RBL Bank, the firm said in a statement.

It will focus on investing in pre-Series A and Series A companies, and is managed by Kunal Upadhyay, Shyam Menon and Ashwin Raguraman, Sanjay Jain and Som Pal Choudhury.

“Indian entrepreneurs are producing globally-competitive IP-driven innovations across themes such as healthcare and biotech, agriculture, energy and enterprise tech, enabled by cutting-edge research and trends, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and India stack, among others. Bharat Innovation Fund will catalyse these transformational deep-tech start-ups by providing them capital, access to market, strategic inputs and partnership connects," said Kunal Upadhyay, managing partner, Bharat Innovation Fund.

CIIE has seeded over 200 start-ups across its various programmes such as iAccelerator, Power of Ideas, Powerstart, India Innovation Growth Program and Startup Oasis, among others.

Some ventures supported by CIIE in the past include Ridlr, Recruiterbox, Forus Health, Mech Mocha, Tookitaki, and Razorpay. In 2013, CIIE had launched India’s first clean-tech-focused venture fund, Infuse Ventures, which has backed start-ups across the clean-tech spectrum.

Earlier in the month, Infuse’s portfolio company, Fourth Partner Energy, raised $70 million from global private equity major TPG Growth’s The Rise Fund.

“We are pleased to partner with Bharat Innovation Fund and support start-ups across fin-tech, agriculture, renewable energy and other emerging sectors. We are excited to be able to provide strategic inputs and ideas, access to capital and cutting-edge technology solutions to the entrepreneurs," said Rajeev Ahuja, executive director, RBL Bank.

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