Speciale Invest raises Rs 120 crore for its second seed fund

Bengaluru: Homegrown venture capital fund Speciale Invest has raised Rs 120 crore ($16.2 million) for its second seed fund, which it intends to close at Rs 140 crore. “We expect to complete the balance very soon,” Managing Partner Vishesh Rajaram said in an interview with ET.

Speciale Invest backs enterprise software and deeptech startups, among other verticals. Its investments include Agnikul, which makes rockets so miniaturised they can be 3D printed, and Wingman, which provides an artificial intelligence-driven sales intelligence platform.

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With this additional funding, Speciale Invest hopes to invest in 18-20 startups. “There will be a large amount of repeat investment—60%-plus investors from the first fund are coming into the second fund,” said Rajaram.

Speciale Invest had raised $10 million for its first fund in 2018. “It’s too early to say if it has been a success or not. But around 70% of our investee companies have expanded in value and raised more money,” he said. The first fund invested in 14 startups, with an average deal size of less than $500,000. It has made two exits so far.

The enterprise software vertical has seen a lot of investor interest in the past 10 years, attracting both early stage and later stage capital. “The deep tech vertical is about 5-7 years behind in the same journey. But there is appetite,” Rajaram said. Investors are spending time with the startups to assess the risk and see if they can underwrite it. “When Speciale Invest started to invest in deeptech in 2018, there were 5-7 funds that were actively doing the same. “Now that number is about 10-12,” he said.

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In the last three years, 1,041 deeptech startups were founded in India. Those startups raised about $786 million in 483 rounds of funding during the same period, according to Tracxn Technologies, which tracks startups in over 30 countries.

Speciale Invest gets 300-400 investment proposals in a quarter. “In newer domains you have younger folks and in slightly more mature domains we see people with domain expertise or PhDs in it—each one to its favour,” Rajaram said.


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