NASSCOM & ICICI’s 100+ crore Innovation fund for Indian startups

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Got a tip from Sanjay regarding the NASSCOM’s innovation fund (NIIF), which will be launched in December 2007. The fund is targeted towards early stage startups.

Here are the details::


While there has been a marked increase in the availability of risk capital in India, there continues to be a dearth of early stage funding in India. A major proportion of the available early stage funding gets invested in relatively low risk opportunities which either involve a services business model or proven technologies, thereby leaving start-up opportunities in frontier technologies starved of funding.

Therefore NASSCOM and ICICI Knowledge Park have promoted the NASSCOM ICICI Innovation Fund (NIIF) to stimulate technology innovation in India through providing seed capital funding for opportunities in emerging technologies. The fund corpus will be Rs. 100 crores in the initial round, with an expansion of another Rs.100 – 150 crores in additional rounds.

The primary objectives of NIIF are as follows:

  • Promote innovation in emerging or frontier technologies through patient investment
  • Encourage entrepreneurship through providing market access and mentoring
  • Enable innovative start-up companies to reach a stage where they can attract follow-on venture capital funding

NIIF will focus on Intellectual Property (IP) asset creation in emerging or frontier technologies. A key criterion for identifying investment areas is the presence or expected emergence of sophisticated demand within India for either the core technology or applications based on the core technology.

Although there are a number of sectors in India which present opportunities for innovations, the IT and life-sciences sectors have arguably overshadowed them all and perhaps present the greatest opportunity for India to achieve pre-eminence in the knowledge economy.

Some of the technology areas presently identified for NIIF investments are listed below.

  • Automotive infotronics
  • Life-sciences
  • Wireless
  • Medical devices
  • Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Energy conservation fuels and devices

However this is an indicative list and the specific sectors will be defined by the NIIF operational team in consultation with the NIIF Advisory group. The fund is likely to be launched in December 2007

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