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Binny Bansal to set up $400 million VC fund

The fund will primarily be focused on startups in India, but will also look at backing entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.

Sep 09, 2019, 09.44 AM IST
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The move by Binny Bansal to turn into a full-time investor will be one of the rare transitions by successful tech entrepreneurs in the country.
(This story originally appeared in on Sep 09, 2019)
BENGALURU: Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal is firming up plans to launch a venture capital (VC) fund with a target corpus of $300-400 million, which will focus on startups who need growth capital, said two sources familiar with the development.

Bansal, who left his role as group CEO of Flipkart in November last year, is likely to roll out the new fund by the end of the year and it will be based out of Singapore. He will be a general partner running the fund and will also come in as one of the anchor investors. The fund will primarily be focused on startups in India, but will also look at backing entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. The name of the fund could not be ascertained till the time of going to the press.

"Bansal is likely to invest 10-20% of the fund's corpus and will start bringing on board other investors soon," said one of the sources mentioned earlier, adding that there could be other backers like a fund of funds and family offices joining as anchor investors. Bansal sold part of his stake in Flipkart - where US retail giant Walmart acquired 77% for $16 billion last year - for $200-250 million. But he still retains a stake of over 3%. The total value of his Flipkart holding at the time of the Walmart sale was pegged at about $1 billion.

Bansal has already started putting together a team, roping in former Flipkart executive Rajneesh Baweja, to handle finance and legal functions at the fund. Bansal, who moved base from Bengaluru to Singapore earlier this year, did not respond to queries sent by TOI.

The move by Bansal to turn into a full-time investor will be one of the rare transitions by successful tech entrepreneurs in the country, which is a norm in more mature startup ecosystems like China and the Silicon Valley.

Most successful serial entrepreneurs in India, like Freecharge founder Kunal Shah and Myntra's Mukesh Bansal, have gone on to start their own companies, even though they are active angel investors.Even Binny's co-founder Sachin Bansal is using his $1-billion Flipkart fortune to start financial services company BACQ, besides making a few personal investments, like $100 million in ride-hailing major Ola.

The last major entrepreneurs to turn into professional investors were Baazee co-founders Avnish Bajaj and Suvir Sujan, who went on to co-found Matrix Partners India and Nexus Venture Partners, respectively. Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani had set up Fundamentum in 2017 along with Helion Venture Partners' Sanjeev Aggarwal for making growth-stage deals.

Earlier, after his Flipkart exit, Binny Bansal invested and took on the role of executive chairman at xto10x Technologies, a company founded by former McKinsey consultant Saikiran Krishnamurthy, which will offer technology tools, learning and consulting services to growth-stage startups. Bansal has been making personal investments in startups for the last five years.

Some of Bansal's early stage investments include artificial intelligence-based medical technology startup SigTuple, breast cancer-screening startup Niramai Health Analytix, and Bengaluru-based dairy internet-of-things company Stellapps.

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