10 December 2015 09:32:32 IST

US-based Science Inc to launch $20-m fund

To invest $1 million each in 20 early-stage start-ups

Santa Monica, California headquartered, Science Inc is in the final stages of launching a $20-million (₹132 crore) venture capital fund to invest in early-stage Indian start-ups.

The Science India Fund, which will be announced in January, aims to provide $1 million each to 20 Indian start-ups who have “awesome ideas” that work for both the India and global markets.

Speaking to BusinessLine on the sidelines of the IoTNext 2015 conference organised by IESA and TiE Bangalore, Umakant Soni, Director, Science India, said: “We are a sector-agnostic fund and looking to back early-stage start-ups that can drive international trends, like Flipkart, which is pioneering the ‘App Only’ route. Currently, we are in the process of getting SEBI registrations done and will launch the fund in January.”

Soni is an IIT Kanpur alumnus, serial investor/entrepreneur and former top executive at Wipro’s Innovation arm.

He said, “It typically takes four to five years for start-ups to understand how to go about the entire process of converting their idea into a product, developing a prototype, testing it and launching it in the market. We will help start-ups gain momentum in 18 months from the idea stage to the product stage and go-to-market including sales, marketing, distribution etc.” The Fund has a resource pool of 135 experienced professionals in the US, India and Armenia who will work with Indian start-ups.

Three business models The Science India Fund has three business models in place: To work with start-ups which have a full team and crossed the prototype stage; in which it will acquire a 10-20 per cent stake. The second model is to co-found a company along with the entrepreneur, where it would acquire a 40 per cent stake and the third model is to incubate and build a start-up; where it would acquire a 60 per cent stake.

“Umakant and team are looking to incubate, co-found and co-create with start-ups thereby, taking care of different requirements and stages that entrepreneurs find themselves in. IESA and TiE will help Science India Fund identify start-ups that they can start working with” said M.N. Vidyashankar, President, IESA.