fundamentum fund: Nandan Nilekani’s Fundamentum raises $227 million second fund

Nandan Nilekani’s venture fund Fundamentum Partnership has raised its second fund with $227 million in capital, largely sourced from local entrepreneurs and their personal investment offices.

Nilekani, cofounder of

and chairman of its board, set up Fundamentum in 2017 with Helion’s Sanjeev Aggarwal. Its first fund was almost $100 million in size. Canadian pension fund and institutional investor La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) invested in it as a limited partner (LP) in 2018.

Nilekani’s Fundamentum will continue to lead and co-lead series B and series C deals with the new fund, which is more than twice the size of its previous fund. The new fund is also in talks with institutional investors and if those fructify the fund size may be increaed to about $250 million.

A quarter of the capital in the new fund has come from Fundamentum’s own team. Besides Nilekani and Aggarwal, Ashish Kumar is another cofounder and general partner at the fund, besides Pratik Jain, a principal at the venture fund.

Fundamentum backed six startup with its first fund, including unicorns such as PharmEasy and used car selling platform Spinny. Nilekani said the fund will continue to make concentrated bets and not take a ‘spray and pray’ approach to investing in startups.

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“We believe series B and series C continue to be underserved. We have also created an advisory panel to help these companies on strategy, marketing, leadership development…as it goes back to our philosophy of giving not just money, but more,” said Nilekani, cofounder and general partner at the fund. He added the fund would look to invest in consumer technology companies and enterprise software-as-a service (SaaS) startups.

“Our portfolio companies have raised over $1 billion in follow-on funding from marquee investors and that’s also a signal to incoming investors when we back them,” said Aggarwal.

Fundamentum will look to lead or co-lead investment rounds in the range of $25-40 million, in which it will typically invest about $10-15 million. Cleantech and ‘Bharat’ apps are some of the other areas the fund is looking to invest in, according to its leadership team.

Fundamentum’s second fund comes at a time when top venture funds like
Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel and others have accumulated a record $4.7 billion in dry powder in the first six months of the year compared to $2 billion last year, as reported by ET.

Kumar said the new fund will invest more frequently — about four-five times a year —than the previous fund, which made one or two bets a year.

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