Mela Ventures will invest upto $1 million in companies in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality or virtual reality and quantum computing. The firm has already shortlisted a AR/VR firm that is focused on the retail industry in which it would invest later this month.
“Mela Ventures is about building an ecosystem for the future…If you look at the changing technology world, India is not really behind any other country in AI ML and other emerging technologies,” said Natarajan, managing partner of Mela Ventures.
The SEBI-approved Category-2 AIF fund, which has raised Rs 130 crore, will focus on business to business startups that it can help scale globally. The fund has raised a majority of the money from individuals, including four Mindtree founders, the company said.
Natarajan and Parthasarathy exited Mindtree after L&T acquired a majority stake in the mid-tier IT services firm last year.
Mela Ventures is planning to help these technology focused firms scale up and reach out to customers using their network in the US and Europe. Mela will invest in around 10-15 companies and are committed to remain long term in ther investments.
“How do you go to the CIO what is your playbook to sell?. That is the expertise that we will bring to the table,” said Parthasarathy, who added that the firm will bring in “empathy,” a crucial need when working with young entrepreneurs.
Natarajan said in the first three to four weeks they have exposed the firm to their network in the US and Europe.
“Entrepreneurs continue to innovate and solve impactful problems for large enterprises. And they realize
that beyond the funds, they can immensely benefit by the Expertise, Experience and Empathy that we bring to the table,” Parthasarathy said.
He said India’s digital sky policy for drones would help encourage local drone startups who will build homegrown drones and systems, an opportunity that Mela would explore investing in.