pi Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in AI and deeptech startups, has received commitments of INR 100 Cr (approximately $13.4 million) or 15% of the corpus from SIDBI-managed Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS). It plans to utilize the investment to support Seed, Pre-Series A, and Series A startups working in the AI and deeptech sectors. With this funding, it aims to invest in more startups. Thus, supporting them in scaling up and achieving their goals. The fund has already invested in seven startups, including ImmunitoAI and Preimage based in India, Ottonomy.IO from the US, and Silence Laboratories from Singapore, among others.
Background on pi Ventures
Manish Singhal founded pi Ventures in 2016. The fund closed its first fund (Fund I) at INR 225 Cr (approximately $30 million) in 2018. Fund I supported 15 deeptech startups, including Niramai, Pixis, Wysa, Agnikul, and Locus, among others. In March 2021, the venture fund launched its second fund with a corpus of $90 million. This includes a greenshoe option that could potentially increase the target to $100 million.
SIDBI-managed Fund of Funds for Startups
SIDBI’s Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) was established in January 2016. It had a corpus of INR 10,000 Cr (approximately $1.34 billion). It is expected to close with a corpus between INR 675 Cr and INR 750 Cr in the second quarter of 2023. Various entities support the FFS fund. This includes BII, Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF, Accel, Colruyt, Binny Bansal, Varun Alagh, Samit Shetty, Rajesh Ranavat, Anupam Mittal, Hemendra Kothari, Hitesh Oberoi, Ullas Kamath, and Deep Kalra, as well as senior leaders from IBM, Facebook, and Google, among others.
The investment from SIDBI-managed FFS has come at a crucial time for the Indian startup ecosystem. Indian startup faces a funding crisis, market inflation, and an impending recession. However, investment firms, including VCs, private equity, and hedge funds, keep the hope alive by investing in domestic startups to brace them against the current winds. The current investment trend follows a similar pattern to the previous year. 126 funds secured a staggering $18 billion for various startups last year.
Manish Singhal’s comments on the investment in pi Ventures
Manish Singhal, the founding partner of pi Ventures, expressed his joy at including FFS in their second fund. He stated that the confidence in their team and investment strategy strengthens their commitment to supporting talented entrepreneurs developing groundbreaking products that solve real-world problems using innovative technology-backed solutions.
The investment by SIDBI’s Fund of Funds for Startups in pi Ventures indicates the Indian startup ecosystem’s potential. With a corpus of INR 10,000 Cr, the FFS fund aims to support startups across India. It will give them the capital to scale up and significantly impact the market. The investment in pi Ventures reflects the fund’s confidence in the potential of deeptech and AI startups in India.
Indian Startup Ecosystem
The Indian startup ecosystem has grown significantly in recent years, with several unicorns emerging in various sectors. The government has also taken several initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. For example, the Startup India initiative aims to create a conducive environment for startups to grow and succeed. The investment in pi Ventures by SIDBI’s Fund of Funds for Startups is a step towards ensuring that startups in the deeptech and AI sectors continue to receive the funding and support they need to thrive in the Indian market.
pi Ventures, focusing on AI and deeptech startups, is well-positioned to identify and support innovative startups that are solving real-world problems with cutting-edge technology. The fund’s first fund, which backed 15 deeptech startups, has already demonstrated the potential of deeptech startups in India. With the second fund, pi Ventures aims to invest in more startups. It will support them in scaling up and achieving their goals.
The investment in the venture fund is also a sign of the growing interest of global investors in the Indian startup ecosystem. In recent years, several international investors have shown interest in the Indian market. Its vast potential and the innovative ideas emerging from the country’s startup ecosystem attract this. The investment by Belgium’s Colruyt Group and SIDBI’s Fund of Funds for Startups in pi Ventures is a testament to the potential of Indian startups. It is a positive sign for the future of the Indian startup ecosystem.