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AngelList India head Utsav Somani launches micro VC fund

AngelList India head Utsav Somani has launched a micro venture capital fund which will invest in about 30-35 early-stage startups over the next 30 months. 

With a corpus of about $5 million, iSeed would be largely targeting companies in software as a service and technology. The portfolio startups would be provided with an average cheque of $150,000.

The fund’s backers include Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi, co-founders of AngelList who are two of the largest investors in the fund; Jake Zeller, partner at AngelList and founder of Spearhead; Sheel Mohnot, general partner at 500 Fintech; Brian Tubergen, co-founder of CoinList; Jack Herrick, founder of wikiHow; Jonathan Swanson, co-founder of Thumbtack; and Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir, co-founders of TaskUs, among others. 

Additionally, Deepak Shahdadpuri, managing director at DSG Consumer Partners, Kavin Bharti Mittal of Hike, and senior executives at DST Global, Matrix Partners India, and Xiaomi are also key backers of the fund. 

Together, the aforementioned backers of the fund have started or already invested in 24 unicorns worth over $200 billion combined and iSeed’s backers can act as a bridge for Indian founders who are increasingly targeting international customers and investors, said a blog post of Somani. 

AngelList had expanded its syndicate program to India in 2018 and appointed Somani to launch the service and develop its business generally in the country. To date, the platform claims to have invested $1.3 billion in over 4585 startups. 

Somani too has been an angel investor in various startups such as BharatPe, Testbook, Jupiter, Mosaic, Wellness, Sleepy Owl Coffee, and Sugar Cosmetics, among others. 

The development comes in the backdrop of several VC firms focusing on seed and early-stage startups in India and has been raising new corpus for the past six to eight months. The list includes Accel India, Indian Angel Network (IAN), DSG Consumer Partners, and 3one4 Capital, which have closed their targeted funds.

However, these investments have slowed down as the COVID-19 outbreak has created uncertainty among investors and VC firms who look to bet on nascent stage firms.

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