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JSW Ventures, the startup investment arm of steel and energy conglomerate JSW Group, has marked the first close of 150 crore of its new fund, for which it is looking to raise a total corpus of 350 crore, a senior executive said.

“We will put a first cheque of $2-3 million, followed by $2 million more across rounds, for 10-12 companies and plan to invest in four companies a year," Gaurav Sachdeva, managing partner at JSW Ventures, said in a phone interview on Monday.

JSW Ventures received approval for the second fund from market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in August. While its 100 crore first fund in 2016 was entirely backed by the Jindal family, the latest fund is anchored by the Jindals with a 30% commitment of the fund. The rest is being raised from limited partners or investors in a fund such as high networth individuals, family offices and banks.

JSW plans to invest in Series A rounds in those companies which have already been found product market fit and have a few investors such as angels and incubators/accelerators on board.

While about a quarter of the new fund would be deployed in software-as-a-service firms (SaaS), the remainder will be deployed towards consumer, healthcare and financial services platforms, Sachdeva said.

“India’s large small and medium enterprises (SME)/ mid-market base helps SaaS companies achieve product-market fit before they go global. A supportive VC ecosystem coupled with maturity of SaaS founders in understanding moats on switching costs, ability to monetize data, and creating product interfaces is fuelling innovation for next round of SaaS companies," he added.

JSW Ventures’ portfolio comprises regional mobile operating system Indus OS, SaaS-based solutions provider to restaurants LimeTray; beauty products e-tailer Purplle; interior design firm Homelane, and refurbished and pre-owned goods marketplace Overcart, which shut down a few years ago.

While Purplle raised about $40 million last month from Goldman Sachs and Belgian investor Verlinvest, Homelane raised $30 million last month from Dubai-based private equity firm Evolvence India Fund (EIF) and Pidilite Group.

JSW Ventures also appointed a new partner in October last year, when Sachin Tagra joined them from media house Network18 Group, where he headed investments at Capital18, its startup investment arm.

The new fund is aiming for a final close by the end of December 2020.

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