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US-based early stage VC firm Romulus Capital enters India with fresh $75 million in funds

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Romulus Capital, a Boston-based venture capital firm has raised its third and the largest funding of $75 million to back early stage technology startups. The founders have decided to target its home market India and already made their initial investment into pharmaceutical company, Vyome Biosciences.

Romulus is the brain child of Krishna K Gupta who founded the VC firm in 2008 during his undergrad at MIT. He was able to raise a modest sum of $850,000 and start out his journey into the venture capital work. Later, the firm raised an additional $50 million and added Neil Chheda as an investor to the team in 2012. The company invests mostly in early-stage startups in the United States, with selectively picking opportunities in Europe.

The current funding round of the firm has been led by a wide range of investors including the chairman of heir alma-mater MIT, some royal families, a Chinese conglomerate, and Dalmia family in India. All previous assets combined with the freshly infused funds brings Romulus’ total assets under the management now to a hefty $150 million.

The firm is looking to invest money in technology enabled startups in real-estate, healthcare and hospitality sector and refrain from investing in e-commerce and capital-intensive businesses. They will infuse anywhere from $100,00 to $500,000 in the seed stage into several machine-learning and artificial-intelligence startups. And if the startups shows promising growth, Romulus goes forward with a Series A round and sticks with the company for five to ten years.

Talking about their maiden investment of $2 million in Vyome Biosciences, Gupta says that,

I am a believer in India’s growth story and we like innovation-driven companies. Vyome is an example of that.

Vyome Biosciences is a pharmaceutical company that is developing innovative dermatology products, and expects to raise more funds in addition to the investments received from Romulus. Vyome has also received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to start clinical trials for its lead molecule VB 1953, a topical therapeutic candidate for the treatment of moderate-to-severe acne.

The pharmaceutical company will use the funds to expand its dermatological product line and start Phase I clinical tests of its therapeutic cure very soon. Vyome had earlier raised around $11 million from the likes of Kalaari Capital, Sabre partners and Navam capital.

Other startups under Romulus’ wing includes Placester, a site creation tool for real estate businesses and Ginger.io, an app that tracks the users mental health and then alerts and helps them when they need counselling.

Gupta concludes saying that it expects to make 4-5 investments in Indian startups like Vyome over a period of two years, especially in seed and Series A rounds. He says that they had been waiting to invest in the booming Indian startup scenario for a couple of years, but the ridiculous inflation has been restricting them from the same.


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