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In May, the fund made its first $2 million investment in Embibe.com, a Mumbai-based online test preparation portal specializing in engineering entrance exams. Photo: Mint
In May, the fund made its first $2 million investment in Embibe.com, a Mumbai-based online test preparation portal specializing in engineering entrance exams. Photo: Mint

Lightbox to close $65 million tranche of second fund by December

Lightbox closed the first tranche of $25 million in April

Mumbai: Lightbox Ventures Management Ltd is looking to close the remaining $65 million tranche of its $90 million second fund by the year-end. It closed the first tranche of $25 million in April.

Founded last year, Lightbox Ventures has launched two funds till date. The first is Lightbox Ventures I, and the second, Lighbox Ventures II— the $90 million fund.

In an interview to Mint on 25 July, Sandeep Murthy, a partner with the fund, said Lightbox is planning to invest $3-5 million in seven more companies in the next seven-eight years. The fund may also take reinvestment decisions in the existing portfolio worth $10 million a company at a later stage, he added.

The fund will focus on technology-enabled companies.

“Technology in India is seeing a boom period and mobile as a sector is particularly seeing a lot of growth. Growth in per capita income, urbanization, organization of retail and technology penetration are factors which are allowing this change to happen. This has created numerous opportunities that are being tapped by new companies," said Murthy.

In May, Lightbox Ventures II made its first $2 million investment in Embibe.com, a Mumbai-based online test preparation portal specializing in engineering entrance exams. The company is looking to use the funds for expansion of network and research.

Lightbox is planning to reinvest in refurbished goods seller GreenDust and solar energy firm Kotak Urja by the end of the September quarter to support their expansion plans.

The first fund, LightBox Ventures I, “made a transaction where it purchased the positions" (bought a stake) in six companies for an undisclosed amount, said Murthy. This move provided an exit to Sherpalo Ventures backed by Ram Shriram, a board member and one of the first investors in Google Inc., and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, who were investors in the six companies.

The six companies are Greendust, Kotak Urja Pvt. Ltd, FutureBazaar.com, ZoomIn.com, MapmyIndia and PayMate.

“Kleiner was looking to invest away from India to markets that they felt they had better knowledge of, mainly in the US," Murthy said.

Other than Murthy, who was a partner at Sherpalo Ventures and managed investments for Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Lightbox Ventures has a team of four partners.

Siddharth Talwar, an angel investor, who founded and sold Evolv, an India-focused training company to NIIT, and Prashant Mehta are the India partners. Mehta was the former chief executive of Komli Media, a digital media technology platform.

Sunny Rao and Jeremy Wenokur are the US partners. Rao, who is currently chief executive of ZoomIn, an online photo service firm, was also co-founder of Half.com, an online portal for sellers that was acquired by eBay Inc. for $350 million. Wenokur was a co-founder of web directory NewHoo, (now DMOZ) which was acquired by Netscape Communications Corp. within six months of operations.

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