Nandan Nilekani, Sanjeev Aggarwal launch $100 mn start-up Fundamentum

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(From left to right) Nandan Nilekani and Sanjeev Aggarwal

The founder of UIDAI (AADHAAR) Nandan Nilekani has joined hands with Helion Venture’s Sanjeev Aggarwal to launch an investment fund called Fundamentum with a corpus of $100 million to back startups looking for growth capital.

The fund has so far closed $50 million and will see one-third of the corpus coming from Nilekani and Aggarwal. The corpus size may also increase to $200 million if the fund sees more opportunities.

Fundamentum has already brought onboard six entrepreneurs, who will also invest in the fund. These entrepreneurs are those who have built unicorns and decacorns

Fundamentum’s investment team also includes entrepreneur Ashish Kumar, who has joined as a partner, and Prateek Jain, who had founded StayGlad.

The fund plans to invest in about two-three startups in a year, ranging from $10 million to $25 million. It also ops out from investments in sectors such as financial technology and education technology and will mainly focus on consumer tech as well as enterprise technology startups serving global companies.

According to Nilekani, in edutech, he does only philanthropy through EkStep and other channels. In fintech, since he is an advisor to NPCI, he doesn’t want any conflict of interest in payments. He will also not look at Aadhaar-based or IndiaStack-based tech companies.

He also said that he will stop making personal investments in startups beyond the 12 he has already made and will only invest through Fundamentum.

Nilekani has been among the most prolific investors in the past couple of years, with investments in companies such as ShopX, TeamIndus, RailYatri (coinvestment with Helion), angel investment platform LetsVenture, Sedemac and Power2SME.

Startups seem to be on a roll. With the support system building around such as investment fund, it will encourage the many more would-be entrepreneurs to join the ecosystem.

Recently, the startup ecosystem witnessed the launch of many investment funds by veteran investors.

In May, Rahul Chandra, Cofounder and Managing Director of Helion Venture Partners, announced to launch an early stage fund, Unitary Helion with a target corpus of $100 million.

In June, Kanwaljit Singh’s, who is a former senior managing director, Helion Venture Partners, Fireside Ventures secured venture capital fund from some of Indias top businesses, including promoter Azim Premji’s PremjiInvest, consumer goods maker Marico’s Mariwalas and RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group.

Last month, SAIF Partners, a venture capital firm focused on early stage technology startups, announced that it is raising a new fund of $350 million. With this new fund, SAIF Partners become one of the largest venture funds in India after Sequoia Capital, Accel India and Nexus Venture Partners.

Last year, Ritesh Banglani, Alok Goyal and Rahul Chowdhri, former partners at Helion Ventures, had launched Stellaris Venture Partners.

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