Stellaris Ventures' strategic move: Embracing gen AI, sustainability

Rahul Chowdhri, partner, Stellaris Venture Partners
Rahul Chowdhri, partner, Stellaris Venture Partners

Summary

  • The venture capital firm expects significant rise in deal activity over the next year

Stellaris Venture Partners anticipates a significant uptick in deal activity within generative artificial intelligence (genAI) and sustainability, and has strategically integrated the emerging opportunities into its investment mandate, Rahul Chowdhri, partner, Stellaris Venture, said.

The venture capital (VC) firm, which had raised its $225 million second fund in 2021, has backed software-as-a-service (SaaS), business-to- business (B2B) marketplaces, and consumer firms from the fund. “In the last two years, we have added gen AI and sustainability to our investment focus for fund II," said Chowdhri.

“We do not do pre-allocate to themes as we have a bottoms-up approach," he said. “However, we expect to see an increase in deal flows, especially for gen-AI over the next year." In February, Stellaris invested $6 million in Carpl, a platform offering AI solutions in radiology. Last August, it had backed Kombai, which facilitates basic user coding through artificial intelligence.

Stellaris, along with other investors also infused $5 million into Dashtoon Studio in November 2023. The company enables users to create graphics, comics, and digital illustration using artificial intelligence, regardless of their artistic talent.

Content creation is particularly susceptible to gen-AI disruption, where AI tools can reduce human efforts drastically, he added. “In the consumer space, either incumbents will incorporate GenAI or startups will build certain aspects." Gen-AI can enhance personalization, especially in health-tech (for diagnosis) or in ed-tech startups (for teaching), besides improving automation, Chowdhri said.

In the realm of sustainability, Stellaris primarily focuses on Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure and its financing. Additionally, it may also invest in battery recharge, battery recycling, and financing themes., Chowdhri said.

In June 2022, Stellaris had invested in Turno, an EV financing startup. Last September, the VC firm invested in sustainable packaging startup Cirkla. “In the last two years, climate and sustainability have become a key focus areas for Stellaris, Chowdhri said.

Stellaris was founded by three former Helion Ventures partners—Ritesh Banglani, Alok Goyal and Chowdhri—in 2016 . For its first fund it had raised $90 million in 2017.

The VC firm has invested in more than 30 companies, witnessing significant successes with portfolio firms such as direct-to-consumer (D2C) firm Mamaearth and SaaS business Whatfix.

In fact, Mamaearth turned into a multi-bagger for Stellaris, with the firm realizing partial profits during the initial public offering and through a block deal in January.

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