According to a leading daily, billionaire and master of Vedanta, Anil Agarwal, who surprised everyone with a $2 billion investment in one of the largest mining companies in the world, Anglo American Plc earlier this year, is contemplating setting up a startup venture capital corpus worth $1 billion. The fund will aim to fund the business plans of aspiring and ambitious Indian entrepreneurs build their dream companies from scratch.
Agarwal is the latest to join the list of accomplished and decorated industrial billionaires taking an active interest in startups. It’s a list that includes Mukesh Ambani, N R Narayana Murthy and Azim Premji.
Agarwal is the embodiment of the rags to riches success story driven by hard work and dogged determination. Born in Patna, he studied at Miller High School till he quit school at 15, to join his father's business, making aluminium conductors. When he was 19, he left Patna for Mumbai to explore more career opportunities. The mid-1970s saw him trading in scrap metal, collecting it from cable companies in other states and selling it in Mumbai.
In 2017, Vedanta Resources PLC has revenues over $11 billion. The fund will most likely fund startups operating in industries related to natural resources. Each investee company may receive funding ranging from 5 crores to 200 crores according to the leading daily.
Agarwal has also disclosed that he chooses to invest in companies dealing in interests related to the diverse business interests of Vedanta Group. If successfully launched, this fund will be the first of its kind to invest in natural resources startups and SMEs. More than two thirds of the Vedanta revenue comes from India, and successful startups they may invest in would only help the Group grow financially.
Vedanta Group is the largest mining and non-ferrous metals company in India and has mining operations in Australia and Zambia, and oil and gas operations in three countries. Its main products are copper, zinc, aluminium, lead, iron ore and petroleum.
The structure of the fund and under what entity it will institutionalized is yet to be decided. Agarwal had told the leading daily that the fund could either be operated through the company or in an individual capacity.