IvyCap Ventures, which recently received government approval to invest $36 million in Indian startups has picked up a stake in Reuters Market Light, an information solution for farmers in India.
The fund floated by former head of Piramal Group’s PE arm Vikram Gupta, will become the lead investor in RML and Thomson Reuters will remain a shareholder in the newly formed RML Information Services Private Limited, the company said.
Details of the deal were not disclosed.
Amit Mehra, founder and managing director of RML, will continue to be the CEO of RML Information
Services Private Limited.
The company was founded in 2007 to provide agricultural, weather, market price and crop information over the mobile phone to farmers. The company said that it now has more than 1 million unique subscribers across an estimated 50,000 villages in 17 sates.
IvyCap is a recent venture capital fund sponsored by the Alumini Trust and invests in early and growth stage companies in Healthcare, Education, Energy, Agricultural, Rural & Technology space.
The fund made its first close of $19 million sometime in July last year and said that it was in talks to invest $4.5 million each in two Indian companies. The venture Capital firm has an interesting investment thesis which backs startups founded by graduates from top tier Indian colleges.
We had a chat with Mr Gupta sometime back about his view of the venture capital industry and the firms investment thesis. You can read it here. This is what Mr Gupta had to say about backing entrepreneurs from top tier colleges
There is no debate on who makes better entrepreneurs. Our philosophy is to approach investments through an ecosystem. The ecosystem that we are continuing to build is formed of people coming from premier institutes of India and abroad. The idea of this ecosystem is to build a strong support system for entrepreneurs who find it easier to connect with alumni from similar educational institutions. However, this does not mean that we will reject an entrepreneur just because he/ she doesn’t come from the background of a premier institution. Any investment opportunity is evaluated based on its own merits – one of the important criteria being the background of the management team. Since IIT Alumni has been our strongest supporters, we have committed to them that any IITian entrepreneur approaching the Fund will get some support from our network even if the fund is not in a position to invest in them due to various reasons. We are already seeing the value of this approach on the ground through the quality of investment opportunities coming to the Fund as well the passion within the network associated with the Fund.
Interestingly, the fund, which has former home secretary G K Pillai as its Chairman, also gives back a percentage of its profits to top tier institutions in the country.