New Delhi: pi Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that supports startups in the AI and deep-tech sectors, has received INR 100 Cr, or 15% of the corpus, from the Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) managed by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). The funding will be used to back Seed, Pre-Series A, and Series A startups in the AI and deeptech segments. pi Ventures has already invested in seven startups, including ImmunitoAI and Preimage in India, Ottonomy.IO in the US, and Silence Laboratories in Singapore.
The investment from FFS comes almost a year after pi Ventures received INR 22 Cr from Belgium’s Colruyt Group. pi Ventures was founded in 2016 by Manish Singhal and closed an INR 225 Cr first fund in 2018. With the first fund, it backed 15 deep-tech startups, including Niramai, Pixis, Wysa, Agnikul, and Locus, among others. In March 2021, it rolled out its second fund with a corpus of $90 Mn and a greenshoe option to a target of $100 Mn.
Manish Singhal, a founding partner of pi Ventures, expressed his delight in welcoming FFS back in their second fund, stating that the confidence in their team and investment strategy reinforces their commitment to support talented entrepreneurs who are creating disruptive products that solve real-world problems with innovative technology-backed solutions.
SIDBI’s FFS was founded in January 2016 and had a corpus of INR 10,000 Cr. It is expected to close between INR 675 Cr and INR 750 Cr in the second quarter of 2023. The FFS fund is supported by BII, Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF, Accel, Colruyt, Binny Bansal, Varun Alagh, Samit Shetty, Rajesh Ranavat, Anupam Mittal, Hemendra Kothari, Hitesh Oberoi, Ullas Kamath, Deep Kalra, senior leaders from IBM, Facebook, and Google, among others.
The funding from FFS comes at a time when the Indian startup ecosystem has been experiencing a funding crisis, market inflation, and an impending recession. However, investment firms, including VCs, private equity, and hedge funds, are keeping the hope alive by making investments in domestic startups to brace them up against the current winds. According to reports, 126 funds collectively secured $18 Bn in the previous year.