Anil Agarwal, the chairman of the $15 billion Vedanta group that has interests in a range of metals staring from iron ore to copper, zinc, aluminum, gold, silver and also in diamond and oil & gas, has just announced that he is creating a corpus of a whopping $1 billion to encourage startups. He is yet to decide if he would be doing this in his individual capacity or the company Vedanta will steer the funds.
It has been made clear the encouragement may be given to startups that show interests in natural resources and the investments in the startups can vary between Rs. 5 Crores to Rs. 200 Crores based on the assessed needs. When established, Agarwalâ€™s fund could become the first natural resources focused venture funding vehicle created by an Indian industrialist.
But it has also to be noted that these investments would be more than just making investments in startups. Agarwal and Vedanta would like to create these enterprises which could go on to form part of their own ecosystem and deal in the different commodities the company is already involved. It could be more appropriately called strategic investments, but a welcome move.
There are other businessmen from India who have created similar venture funds to promote startup ideas and they include Infosysâ€™ Narayanamoorthy, Wiproâ€™s Azim Premji and the richest of them all, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance, besides JSW promoted by Sajjan Jindal.
Indian technology-based startups are said to have received funding to the tune of $6 billion in 2017 so far from venture capitalists, equity investors and angel investors.