Former CEO of Flipkart Binny Bansal is getting his act together with forming a venture capital firm that has a host of investors as limited partners (LP). The name of this entity will be 021 Capital and the first tranche of fund raised is $32 million of which approximately $10-12 million would be contributed by these LPs.
The key investor is the Azim Premji Foundation as an institutional limited partner and then there are Mukesh Bansal, the co-founder of Myntra and Curefit; Rajesh Magow Chief Executive of MakeMyTrip India, PhonePeâ€™s Sameer Nigam and Rahul Chari, Ananth Narayanan, who was CEO of Myntra and quit after the Walmart takeover and the subsequent changes in the Flipkar Fashion-Myntra-Jabong relationship and former Flipkart executive Mekin Maheshwari. Former senior Facebook and Dropbox executives Ruchi Sanghvi and Aditya Agarwal have also been included in this list of limited partners. There is definitely a large Flipkart connection here and that is understandable too.
But right at the top, apart from Binny Bansal, the key individual will be Sailesh Tushan, who was the one to float the VC fund 021 in 2017 and now, with Binny Bansal free from the Flipkart commitment, the two will form the investment committee at 021. Tulshan has an HDFC Bank background and has been a personal financial advisor to both Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, the co-founders of Flipkart.
It is understood that the name 021 has been inspired by a book titled Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. The author of the book is Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal. Blake Masters CEO of Thiel Capital is a co-author of this book.
The current funding of $32 million will be enhanced to $50 million and Indian startups will benefit from this all-Indian VC. As being constantly reported in these columns, a large part of the funds inducted into Indian startups have come predominantly from foreign investors like SoftBank, Alibaba, Naspers and Tiger Global. This is quite different from what happened in China, where native Chinese companies invested in their startups.
Hopefully, the Bansals, fresh with their disinvestments in Flipkart, will change that scenario and Indian VCs will take their rightful position in the scheme of things. To be fair, there are other investment arms floated by veteran Indian billionaires like Ratan Tata and Nandan Nilekani. The trend of LPs joining hands will make it even better.
Artificial intelligence, biotech, agricultural technology, supply chain & logistics and consumer Internet are said to be the areas 021 Capital will be focusing on, for making investments. Around 15 startups will be their initial target. Besides India, the new VC has plans to tap opportunities in countries like Singapore and Indonesia for making investments in startups.