Venture Capital firm Chiratae Ventures, on Wednesday, launched their quick turnaround seed funding programme, Chiratae Sonic, to accelerate the fund-raising process for early start-ups. Through the initiative the firms guarantee a 48-hour decision-making timeline once the meetings with the participating start-ups are concluded.

The initiative will be in phases, the first of which is going live today, under which Chiratae Ventures will be accepting requests and pitches for the next 30 days. Shortlisted start-ups will get investments worth less than or equal to $500,000. The investment will be done for equity stake and convertible shares.

Key collaborator

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a key collaborator on the initiative, and will offer credits up to $100,000 per eligible start-up through the AWS Activate program, which provides resources such as AWS credits, business mentorship, and technical support to help early-stage founders.

Though the firm did not disclose the details around the size of the fund or the number of start-ups it is looking to invest in, it added that the initiative will enable quicker access to capital for founders and help them prioritise innovation.

“One of the biggest challenges an early-stage entrepreneur faces is the tedious and time-consuming process behind raising capital. We believe innovation needs to be at the core of why and how founders interact with investors. By solving and simplifying the ‘how’ of that conversation Chiratae Sonic strives to empower founders to focus on innovation above all,” said Sudhir Sethi, Founder and Chairman, Chiratae Ventures.

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“The risk levels for different stage of the start-ups are different. When we are investing between a few hundred million dollars to a $5-6 million cheque in the first round, the risk level is different. The risk level for a much smaller cheque is different and there are lot of founders doing good work,” Karan Mohla, Executive Director, Chiratae Ventures, told BusinessLine.

He added: “The programme will run for 30 days, the meetings will go on for 45-50 days. We are doing it in a focussed way, where post meetings we get back to the founders within 48 hours. The turnaround time for a decision is much shorter. The money then gets issued in a few weeks.”

The checks and diligence for all investments will be done by trusted partners. Chiratae will be looking for start-ups with technology at the core, irrespective of end-user application in industries across consumertech, enterprise tech/SaaS, fintech, healthtech, deep tech, edtech, and agritech, among others.

In addition, Chiratae will also give the startups access to its Global Advisory Board for guidenace, which includes Ratan Tata (Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons), Kris Gopalakrishnan (Co-founder of Infosys), Bruno E Raschle (Founder, Managing Director, and Non-Executive Vice-Chairman of Schroder), and Manish Choksi (Non-Executive Vice-Chairman of Asian Paints) and Dr Andreas Hettich (Chair, Hettich Group Advisory Board.)

Trends to watch out for

Mohla sees agritech and healthtech as the next big frontiers of disruption on a long-term basisfor the coming 10-15 years.

“We have invested in a few companies in the agritech space. The level of innovation using technology in Indian market is huge. There’s use of data, IoT, sensors and satellite imagery in the agritech sector. The size of the market opportunity globally is big and it has remained untouched so far. Healthcare too is a 10-15 year trend. There is so much to be done, whether it’s in the area of diagnostics or prevention. We are seeing a massive change in larger existing start-ups like HealthifyMe and Onco,” he said.

Right push for start-ups

Edtech, too, has taken a life of its own post-Covid. Be it students, adults and professionals learning and upskilling themselves. “These products can further be introduced in the English-speaking global markets,” said Mohla.

Another major bet will be around the expected changes to come in the start-up ecosystem in India, with SEBI easing regulations and over a dozen start-ups looking to get listed in the coming years.

“Once Zomato goes public, followed by Paytm and 15 others in the next few years, we and other VCs are viewing this favourably. This will entirely change how the ecosystem is looked at and even at a policy level to some extent,” he added.