Synapses launches $125 mn fund focused on climate, health tech

  • Synapses will target early-stage startups that demonstrate a strong product-market fit and the ability to engage customers who clearly understand the addressed problem

Priyamvada C
First Published9 Apr 2024, 07:32 PM IST
Synapses founders Ruchira Shukla and Karthik Chandrasekar.
Synapses founders Ruchira Shukla and Karthik Chandrasekar.

Ruchira Shukla, former India head of venture capital investments at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Karthik Chandrasekar on Tuesday announced the launch of Synapses, a new $125 million venture fund aimed at enhancing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) opportunities in climate-tech and health-tech space.

Synapses will foster companies that extend beyond digitization-based business models. It aims to develop STEM-based solutions with a strong value proposition for global markets, including technology transfer opportunities, the company said in the statement.

"We believe that climate and health are large enough spaces where going deep into them is important, so we don't want to play a generalist game. We want to go deeper in these two areas which are where the most pressing challenges of the world are today," Shukla told Mint in an interview.

In her prior role, Shukla was the head of disruptive technologies in South Asia where she oversaw equity and venture capital (VC) investments across several sectors such as consumer internet, healthcare technology, edtech and cleantech. She has also served on the boards of prominent startups such as 1mg, Byju's, Blackbuck, and Bizongo as well as in LPACs such as IDG, Stellaris and Pi Ventures.

Synapses will target early-stage companies that demonstrate a strong product-market fit and the ability to engage customers who clearly understand the addressed problem. Co-founder and managing partner Karthik Chandrasekar told Mint that the fund will also help incubate startups, offering resources for scaling and achieving commercial viability.

"Commercialising innovations at this intersection is hard and requires deep sector immersion. We are taking on this challenge because solving for this complexity is what drives alpha and impact," Chandrasekar said. 

In his previous stints, Chandrasekar co-founded an early-stage climate fund, established India's first cleantech incubator in partnership with NITI Aayog, and has spent the last 15 years nurturing early stage climate-tech startups.

Synapses stands out due to its concentrated focus on the pressing areas of climate and health tech, differentiating it from other deep tech funds, Shukla added.

In recent times, there's been a noticeable uptick in venture capital interest in the realms of clean mobility and health tech, leading to greater investment in these sectors. Lightspeed Ventures, for instance, told Mint in a recent interaction that there has been an increased focus on clean-tech companies, while B Capital has allocated approximately $500 million to its inaugural healthcare fund.

While there are active conversations around these areas, Shukla said that there are a lot of overlaps as venture funds are largely focused on mainstream trends. For instance, "With climate, we need the conversation to go beyond wind, solar deployment beyond just EV electric mobility...we want to be able to go deeper into these innovations, and that in turn will make large scale deployment possible and the pipeline more unique," she explained.

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First Published:9 Apr 2024, 07:32 PM IST
HomeNewsSynapses launches $125 mn fund focused on climate, health tech

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