Indian early-stage venture fund pi Ventures has received a commitment of INR 100 Crores ($12 million) or 15 percent of the corpus out of Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS) managed by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).

This is nearly about 2.5 times of what FFS had invested in the first fund, pi Ventures said in a statement on Wednesday.

The investment comes soon after pi Ventures announced an investment of INR 22Cr from Belgium’s Colruyt Group in its second fund.

In Jan 2022, the company announced the first close of its second fund at INR 303.5Cr ($40 milllion), raising funds from entrepreneurs, HNIs, and Family Offices from across the globe.

With the commitment out of FFS, the fund is on track to do its final close in the second quarter of 2023 in the range of 675Cr to 750Cr.

The fund is backed by BII, Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF (NIDIA), Accel, Colruyt, and entrepreneurs & family offices such as 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.

According to the statement, pi Ventures will continue to focus on early-stage (seed/ pre-Series A/Series A) investments via this fund.

Its strategy will be to invest in start-ups focused on disruptive artificial intelligence (AI) and other forms of deep tech across sectors including, but not limited to blockchain, spacetech, biotech, and material science among others.

So far pi ventures has committed in seven startups – ImmunitoAI, Ottonomy.IO, Silence Laboratories, Preimage, and three other ventures.

The fund plans to invest in 20-25 such startups in the coming two to three years.

FFS was unveiled by the in January, 2016 in line with the Start-up India Action Plan.

It has a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore for contribution to various Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Introduced with a focused objective of supporting the development and growth of innovation-driven enterprises, FFS facilitates funding needs for start-ups through participation in the capital of SEBI-registered alternative investment funds.

SIDBI was established in April 1990 to serve as the principal financial institution for the promotion, financing, and development of the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector in India in addition to coordination with institutions engaged in similar activities.

The financial support to MSMEs is provided by way of indirect finance / refinance to banks / financial institutions for onward lending to MSMEs and direct finance in niche areas.

SIDBI is acting as an operating manager for FFS program and is working with the vision to encourage the government agenda of boosting entrepreneurship by providing indirect funding to emerging Start-ups through the provision of funds to venture capital (VC) funds present in the Indian start-up ecosystem.

“We are delighted to welcome FFS again in our second fund. The confidence in our team and our investment strategy reinforces our commitment to support talented entrepreneurs who are creating disruptive products that solve fundamental real-world problems with innovative technology-backed solutions.” said Manish Singhal, Founding Partner, pi Ventures.

Established in 2016 by Manish Singhal, pi Ventures closed its Fund I of ₹225 Cr ($30 million) in 2018.

The first fund exceeded its target and was oversubscribed and has backed 15 deep tech startups including Niramai, Pixis, Wysa, Agnikul, Locus to name a few.

The second fund was launched in March 2021 with a base target corpus of INR 675Cr ($90 million) and including a green shoe target of INR 750Cr ($100 million).

India’s Blume Ventures closes fourth fund at over $250M to back visionary tech founders