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BENGALURU : Prime Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital (VC) fund that has a portfolio of 25 companies in fintech, software-as-a-service (SaaS), healthcare, consumer, logistics and business to business (B2B) will back up to six companies in some of these sectors this year, its Managing Partner, Sanjay Swamy said.

Swamy said that the Bengaluru-based VC firm will invest in five or six companies this year, and make follow-on investments in some of its portfolio firms, from its $72-million third fund.

“Our third fund, raised in 2018, was a $72 million fund. We announced $60 million but an additional investor came in. And our model is that we do 3-5 fresh investments a year," he said in an interview.

The firm has made ten investments so far from the third fund. “We are 60% committed (from the third fund)," he said.

Swamy did not disclose the names of their investors but said that these include individuals, institutions, family offices and fund of funds from the US, Hong Kong, Singapore and other parts of the world.

Prime Venture Partners’ portfolio firms include MoneyTap, a consumer lending startup, OTO Capital, a two-wheeler leasing company, mfine, an AI-enabled virtual consultations app, and NiYO, an enterprise payment solution for payroll and employee benefits management.

NiYO recently raised $35M in a Series B round led by Horizons Ventures and Tencent, while mfine raised $17.2 million from Japan’s SBI Investment with participation from sibling fund SBI Ven Capital and another Japanese investor, Beenext. KredX raised $26 million led by Tiger Global Management, along with participation from Prime, and MoneyTap raised 500 crore in a Series B round.

“From the very early days, we had a belief that India is getting digitised, and that more and more aspects of life and business are going to get digitised, and that this will create a lot of data which potentially leads to business opportunities in multiple spaces," he said.

He added that financial services and fintech is a core area for the firm. “It constitutes around 45% of our portfolio. We have also built a very strong thesis on SaaS as well, both domestic and international. We also have companies like Sunstone Eduversity, AffordPlan and Quizizz which are in healthcare, education and logistics. Sometimes you’ll find intersections of these areas as well," he said.

Prime Ventures, he added, focuses on startups that not only need capital but also require mentoring. “Companies need a lot of operating support, and strategic partnership with the venture capitalists. We felt there was a big gap and an opportunity to offer a curated set of services and work with a small number of companies but work very deeply with them and that played to our strength of being operators ourselves," he said.

Prime Ventures was started in 2012, with an $8 million-fund. The second, a $45-million fund, was raised in 2015.

Swamy added that the firm backs tech companies where they are “almost always the first institutional investors". “We typically write 5-12 crore as the first cheque, and we will follow on assuming the company is doing well," he said.

“Our focus has been to work with technology companies based in India – about two thirds (of our companies) target India, one third is global and, in some cases, completely international," he said.

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