Artha Venture Fund (AVF), India's early-stage micro-VC fund, announced the launch of Artha Access, a program through which AVF will now invest in pre-seed funding rounds, via its associations with multiple accelerators across the country. AVF has earmarked a corpus from its recently closed fund of ₹225 crores and will invest up to ₹25 lakhs in each deal. Artha Access will invest in 40 deals by 2025, with a 4x quicker TAT than the current industry norm. Aspects such as smooth deal execution, adequate handholding, and fast turnaround times are possible due to AVF's partnership with India Accelerator, Huddle and IIM Calcutta Innovation Park. AVF will add more accelerators to this program in the coming money.
The accelerators will carry out the due diligence and onboarding process; AVF will provide the startups with access to its widespread network and ecosystem, besides co-investing with the accelerators. AVF just closed a deal through these partnerships and as a result, invested in 'TheRollNumber' in August 2021.
India has witnessed significant growth in startup funding. With the first six months of the year (H1 2021) touching $10.1 billion with 543 deals, the startup ecosystem has already surpassed the $9.94 billion raised in the whole of 2020. However, most deal-making occurs in the late-stage funding rounds, with the early stage struggling to beat the 2016-peak. Taking note of this gap, Artha Access gives pre-seed stage founders the necessary funds and access to the entire funding spectrum.
Anirudh A Damani, Managing Partner, Artha Venture Fund, said, "We are thrilled to have partnered with India Accelerator, Huddle and IIM Calcutta Innovation Park so far and are eager to associate with other accelerators. With the geographical spread for startup funding expanding to the Big 8, startups in tier II and III cities are gaining significant momentum, with a knack for solving real-human problems. We look forward to funding and supporting such founding teams."
"In addition to the recent developments in the startup ecosystem, the overwhelming response to AVF's maiden fund is a clear indicator that the investor appetite is increasing. We aim to satiate this hunger by expanding our portfolio across the funding spectrum, strengthening our deal flow for follow-on rounds. Moreover, with AVF writing the first cheque at the ideation stage, the startups will benefit with the structure, process, and network of an institutional fund such as ours", he added.
As part of the Artha Access program, select startups will have an opportunity to secure funding upwards of ₹18 crores ($2.5m) in follow-on rounds from AVF. Artha's leadership team has 35+ years of cross-border entrepreneurial experience and 50+ years of venture capital experience. The team has a knack for picking early winners like OYO, Purplle, Exotel, Tala, Coutloot, LenDenClub, Agnikul, and ICON Build, which raised a $207m Series B round last week. The team has backed 6 unicorns and 15 startups cumulatively, valued at over $40 billion.