Blue Ashva Capital, an investment firm founded by Satya Bansal, former CEO of Barclays Private Bank in India, has marked the first close of its maiden fund with commitments of ₹454 crore ($60 million).

The SME- and start-up-focussed fund, Blue Ashva Sampada Fund, is a SEBI-registered Category II Alternative Investment Fund.

It proposes to raise ₹400 crore, with a greenshoe option of ₹200 crore. It has exercised a part of the greenshoe option at the initial close.

“SMEs and start-ups play a key role in fostering entrepreneurship and generating large scale livelihood opportunities. However, with so much gloom and doom around, most such businesses are currently going through challenging times,” said Bansal.

“There is a need now, more than ever, to support passionate founders with optimistic capital that is willing to bet on the long term. Our fund is committed to nurturing profitable and sustainable SMEs and start-ups for a better India,” he added.

The investors in the fund include family offices and high net worth individuals. It will invest in businesses across sectors including financial services, technology, healthcare, consumer and manufacturing. It will also back professionals-turned-entrepreneurs and partner with global companies to invest in India.

Bansal was the CEO of Barclays Private Bank in India for more than a decade. He was also a founding member of the ICICI Direct team.