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Venture Catalysts Raises $500K from Zaffiro Ventures

VCats was valued at INR 40 crore during the investment process, marking a major landmark in the six months of its operations and underlining its position as the fastest growing seed investment platform in the country.

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In a groundbreaking development for the Indian entrepreneurial landscape, Venture Catalysts, India’s first seed investment & innovation platform, has secured an undisclosed amount from Zaffiro Ventures. VCats was valued at INR 40 crore during the investment process, marking a major landmark in the six months of its operations and underlining its position as the fastest growing seed investment platform in the country.

Speaking on the investment, Dr Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder, Venture Catalysts, said, “Our aim, ever since our launch, has been to support and augment the growth of promising start-ups across the country. The investment from Zaffiro will not only help us in expanding to multiple cities across India and promote entrepreneurship beyond the metropolitan and tier-1 geographies, but will also allow us to access industry insights and business acumen gained by individuals such as Revathi Roy and Jagdish Gothi. This will add great value to our business approach and allow us to reach newer heights.”

The latest announcement from VCats will be music to the ears of the country’s entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors, as it hints at the establishment of a holistic, end-to-end start-up investment and support ecosystem across the country, including tier-2 and tier-3 cities. The platform recently expanded its operations into Surat to an extremely positive response and will be looking to establish its physical presence in five cities in 2016 with an aim to expand to five more cities in the next two years.

Speaking on what makes the association so vital to the country’s start-up landscape, Revathi Roy, Co-founder, Zaffiro Ventures, said, “After interacting with VCats founders, we learnt how building a robust, end-to-end ecosystem to support and nurture new-age tech businesses can help raise the innovation quotient of the country. With the company already creating major disruption in the way start-up investment and support in the country is approached, it made more sense to integrate with their effort instead of reinventing the wheel by creating a completely new platform.”

An alumnus of St. Xaviers College, Revathy is a social entrepreneur with a long list of professional accomplishments to her name. Not only did she pioneer Asia’s first women’s taxi service, but also started the first-ever instant 2-wheeler parcel delivery service by women. Having been interested in business ventures since her college days and realising the creative energy that surrounds campuses, she started Zaffiro Ventures Pvt. Ltd, a closed group which funded and nurtured promising ideas from student entrepreneurs. Her efforts have led to major recognition for her across the country; she was named Entrepreneur of the Year 2007-2008 by the Bombay Management Association in recognition of providing high quality innovative transportation service at affordable cost in Mumbai, and was also bestowed the Lions Gold Award Favourite Social Woman Entrepreneur.

Jagdish Gothi, Co-founder, Zaffiro Ventures, added, “We have been fostering start-up growth at the grassroots by investing into promising student ventures. Our association with VCats is a reflection of the synergy of our visions. VCats has built a strong innovation platform with very deep understanding of the market and has several experts on the advisory board with trenchant know-how of the start-up sector. We will now look forward to integrate our efforts to mutually develop a comprehensive, well-rounded investment and support ecosystem within the country.”

Jagdish is a 2nd generation entrepreneur and a part of the Patel family venture from Gujarat, which operates its flagship Kamdhenu Retail in over 35000 sq feet at Napean Sea Road and Lokhandwala in Mumbai. He is exploring new-age investment opportunities on behalf of his family and is an active investor in many start-ups. He aims to extend funds and business insights to his investee ventures and drive their growth by delivering invaluable advice and experience gained over decades through his family businesses.

Having already enabled seven investments into high-value start-ups with the total deal size exceeding $3 million, Venture Catalysts will also be looking to leverage its association with Zaffiro to mobilise local HNIs as mentors and investors by connecting them to global ideas developed by disruptive start-ups under incubation at VCats. The platform already has over 600 angels as a part of its investor network and is looking to add 100 new angels in the next few months.

Talking about increasing angel network connect and service offerings, Anuj Golecha, Co-founder, Venture Catalysts added, “The capital will also be used to diversify our offerings by adding a bouquet of services such as corporate acceleration, women incubation programmes, added support infrastructure to our portfolio companies. This will allow us to take the Indian start-up ecosystem to the next level and drive healthy growth for the country’s economy.”

Venture Catalysts will also be looking to leverage the strong industry relationships enabled through Zaffiro to augment its own array of strategic partnerships with the likes of Cox and Kings, HDFC, Plug and Play etc. By giving its investee start-ups access to some of the biggest corporate companies in India, VCats aims to increase their chances of success by enhancing business opportunities. The end-goal, for the platform, is clear – driving start-up growth through mentoring, investment enablement and auxiliary support, and establishing India as the start-up capital of the world!


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