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NEW DELHI: 9Unicorns, the accelerator fund of Venture Catalysts (VCats), has raised 100 crore to be used to invest in over 100 early stage startups focusing on solving problems for India.

Built along the lines of Silicon Valley’s accelerator fund Y Combinator’s strategy of providing seed funding for early stage start-ups, 9Unicorns will provide funding of up to $100,000 for 5-7% equity per startup in the first round.

Shortlisted startups will go through a three-month acceleration programme while being mentored by successful founders. Performing startups will then be eligible for a follow-on round of $500,000-$2 million funded by a syndicate of VCats Network and global VC funds.

The VCats founding team that launched the fund includes Dr. Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Anuj Golecha, Anil Jain and Gaurav Jain. 9Unicorns is targeting a corpus of 300 crore, with the goal of writing the first external cheque.

"There’s no better time to bet on Indian entrepreneurs than today. We are witnessing a surge in startups who are focused on solving Indian and global problems born out of various parts of India," said co-founder Sharma, who is also an angel investor in SoftBank-backed Oyo Rooms.

VCats has backed more than 75 home-grown startups, including BharatPe, Beardo, PeeSafe, and Fynd in which VCats was a seed-stage investor.

In India, most startups struggle while raising the first round. This has only accelerated during the covid crisis, especially for those from tier 2, 3 and 4 cities. 9Unicorns aims to provide capital to such entities besides helping them get early customers, distribution partnerships, cross-portfolio synergies by leveraging its pre-existing network of over 4,000 plus investors, founders and executives in the VCats ecosystem.

"I anticipate the number of unicorns in India will grow 4x, from 36 today to over 140 in the near future," added Sharma.

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