Mumbai: A91 Partners, the venture capital fund set up by three former managing directors at Sequoia Capital, is nearing the final close of its $350 million debut fund, said two people aware of the matter, on condition of anonymity.
The fund is expected to close official paperwork in the coming weeks, said one of first persons cited above.
The Economic Times on Tuesday reported that A91 has closed the fund, with dollar commitments of $280 million, while almost $70 million of the corpus was rupee denominated from Indian backers.
The fund was set up by V.T. Bharadwaj, Abhay Pandey, and Gautam Mago, all of whom left Sequoia last year to start their fund. This was also the second churn at Sequoia Capital, after WestBridge Capital decided to dermerge from Sequoia in 2011 as WestBridge’s founders wanted to focus on public market investments.
A91 declined to comment on the matter.
The fund has exceeded original expectations as A91 had planned to close the fund at $290-300 million, said the person cited above.
The three founders have themselves committed 10% of the fund, with another 10% coming from entrepreneurs and other people they have worked with over the years, the person added.
A91 is focused on making mid-stage investments, in Series B and C deals of between $10 and $30 million. “The focus area will be consumer, healthcare and financial services- real world businesses and tech enabled real world businesses," said a third person aware of discussions. “The only kind of series A they will do is where there will be no series B or C or D. Think of it as an entrepreneur who has bootstrapped the business to ₹100 or ₹150 crore, takes partnership because he wants capital and then 3-4 years later the company goes public," the person added.
The fund has already made two investments, ₹70 crore in Sugar Cosmetics, which 'Mint' first reported on 31 January and is leading a $30-million round in Hector Beverages, best known for its Paper Boat brand of ethnic drinks, 'Mint' reported on 29 April.
A number of venture capitalists are seeing an opportunity in India’s missing mid stage, which has hardly any dedicated investors. While there are dozens of dedicated seed-stage funds and a handful of late-stage investors, mid-stage has not seen dedicated pools of capital. VC investors, such as A91 Partners, Mirae Global Asset Management and Iron Pillar, have now targeted the mid-stage exclusively, Mint reported on April 15. According to data from Tracxn, the last four quarters saw $3.1 billion poured across 157 Series B and C funding rounds combined, with deployments only expected to increase.