9unicorns, anil jain, ca anuj golecha, dr apoorva ranjan sharma, elev8 venture partners, gaurav jain, venture catalysts

(Representative image)

Early-stage startup investor and accelerator Venture Catalysts-backed Elev8 Venture Partners has launched a $200 million fund to invest in startups based out of India, joining a growing list of PE/VC (private equity venture capital) firms to raise large, India-focused funds.

The sector-agnostic fund intends to invest in growth-stage, technology-driven companies with a ticket size of $5-15 million, the firm said in a statement on September 29. Elev8 will invest in Series B and C rounds and has received an AIF (alternate investment fund) category II license from the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India), the company said. The fund also includes a green-shoe option.

“Even though liquidity in technology investments is drying up, Elev8 has received an overwhelming LP (Limited Partner) interest as well as partnership avenues with seed funds, as the current vintage offers an excellent opportunity to invest in growth stage companies and earn/target attractive returns,” said Navin Honagudi, partner at Elev8.

“We are in an advanced stage of discussions to establish several global partnerships which going forward will help our portfolio companies expand beyond India during their growth phase,” Honagudi added.

Elev8 will be the fourth fund backed by Venture Catalysts. The VC said that it is poised to cross $450 million in AUM (assets under management) with the launch of Elev8.

Founded in 2016 by Dr Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Anil Jain, CA Anuj Golecha and Gaurav Jain, the Venture Catalysts group also includes 9Unicorns accelerator fund, Beams Fintech fund and an over 5,000 member angel network with a portfolio of more than 300 unique companies.

Elev8 said that it has built proprietary data-driven algorithms in its investment framework that provides LPs with strong visibility into the VC’s capital deployment strategy.

Elev8 would also focus on partnering with India’s leading seed funds, which have missed out on investing over $500mn of pro-rata capital in 2021 alone for their successful portfolio companies, the VC said. Elev8 claimed it will be India’s first pro-rata fund, a strategy common in other markets like the US and Europe.

“We are enthusiastic about Elev8’s approach in a market where there is significant whitespace of domestic growth stage VC funds with the requisite experience,” said CA Anuj Golecha, partner at Elev8 and co-founder, Venture Catalyst.

“Elev8 considerably reduces risk by entering the growth stage, where companies have demonstrated product-market fit, resilience during downturns, and strong founders capable of driving their companies in the right direction irrespective of market conditions,” Golecha added.

Elev8 will be led and co-founded by Navin Honagudi, a former partner at Kae Capital. Honagudi was with Kae Capital for over a decade, Venture Catalysts said, adding that he has experience investing in early and growth stage startups for more than 15 years. The company also claimed that Navin has invested in over 50 companies in sectors including consumer internet, enterprise, fintech, edtech and healthtech.

Some of the previous investments of the team behind Elev8 include India’s leading fintech company Paytm, intracity logistic marketplace Shiprocket, edtech platform Vedantu, agritech platform Reshamandi, and BharatPe, among others.

Elev8 becomes the 12th India-focused VC firm to raise large multi-million dollar funds. In 2022, India-focused VCs have raised over $6.5 billion. From September last year to August 2022, India-dedicated PE/VC firms have raised more than $9 billion, data by Venture Intelligence showed. This suggests that PE/VC firms are in a wait-and-watch mode. Earlier this week, Moneycontrol had reported how startups would still be staring at a funding winter for the next 12-18 months despite investors raising large sums of money.

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