Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Info Edge, which was the first backer of unicorns (startups valued at over $1 billion) like online food delivery platform Zomato and financial services portal PolicyBazaar, is raising $100 million, or Rs 750 crore, for a venture capital (VC) fund.

The new fund will see Info Edge and its wholly owned subsidiary commit Rs 350 crore, while the remaining amount is expected to be raised from outside investors or limited partners (LPs).

This would put Info Edge in competition for deals with early stage funds like Blume Ventures, India Quotient and Stellaris Venture Partners, besides VC firms like Sequoia Capital and Accel India who are active at this stage too. The fund also comes at a time when overall investment activity is slowing down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, Info Edge had got an alternative investment fund (AIF) licence under category II, with initial plans to contribute Rs 100 crore to IE Venture Fund I. But those plans have now been scaled up, according to its latest filing with the exchanges.

“We see growth opportunities through investments in technology oriented and innovation oriented startups…we may also explore options to raise equity capital from external investors for our investment activities,” said Info Edge, which owns recruitment portal Naukri and real estate classifieds platform 99acres, while informing the exchanges.

The fund has already disbursed Rs 150 crore, including Rs 85 crore worth of investments, which are at term sheet stage, making it one of most active early stage investors in 2020. It has already made four investments — fintech startup DotPe, new media company Qyuki, e-sports platform FanClash and telemedicine platform Truemeds.

Info Edge is best known for its early bet a decade ago on Zomato, now valued at $3.2 billion, where it still owns about a 25% stake in the company after a partial exit of $50 million in 2018. Another one of its successful bets is Policybazaar, where along with Temasek it owns about 16% stake worth over $240 million at the current valuation for an investment of $86 million.

While Info Edge’s businesses like Naukri and 99acres have seen the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with April revenues sliding, the company said adoption of digital services will increase in the long run. It also informed the exchanges that it has zero debt and $200 million in cash, as it is looking for more M&A opportunities.

“We believe there would be more opportunities to invest in certain strategic areas of our core operating business and other areas of expansion. This could include M&A activities and strategic stakes in certain areas of interest,” said Info Edge.




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