Iron Pillar, a tech-focused venture capital firm, has made the first close of its maiden India fund at ₹129 crore. With this close, the firm brings on board two major investors — Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and diversified financial services player IIFL.
Iron Pillar India Fund-I, a Sebi-registered Category-II alternative investment fund, has a target corpus of Rs 200 crore. It has already made two investments till date – Hyderabad-based small and medium enterprise-focused SaaS startup NowFloats Technologies, and Bluestone Jewellery and Lifestyle, which owns and operates online jewellery platform Bluestone.com.
Sameer Nath, managing partner at Iron Pillar, confirmed the developments, and said:
A significant first close of our maiden India Fund, coupled with our two initial investments, has provided investors significant visibility into our portfolio.
While two major investors of the fund are known, Sameer declined to disclose the names of the family offices, citing confidentiality agreements signed with them.
Further, Iron Pillar is also raising a Mauritius-domiciled investment vehicle which, once closed, is anticipated to take the investment firm’s total corpus to $100 million.
The announcement comes at a time when LPs are demanding more exits and better returns on investments from their funds in India. However, at the same time, many VC firms are currently on the road for raising their next investment vehicles. Among others, SIDBI is one of the most active home-grown LPs in the Indian venture capital ecosystem, which acts as a fund-of funds for domestic investment firms.
Iron Pillar was launched in early 2016 by Sameer Nath and Anand Prasanna. Sameer formerly headed Citi’s M&A and technology investment banking business in India, while Anand headed Morgan Creek’s business in Asia.
The firm made its mark in the country, when it advised Brother Fortune Apparel, an investment entity that represents several Chinese high net worth individuals, and invested about ₹335 crore in Snapdeal in February last year.
Commenting about the firm, Sameer Nath said:
The Indian venture market is still evolving.While many funds are active in the early stage, there isn’t enough capital for or focus on the growth stage. In that sense, we are building a bridge between the early and late stage investment ecosystems.
The Mumbai-headquartered firm also has a presence in Palo Alto and Shanghai. The investment firm will usually come in Series B, C or D rounds, typically investing $5-10 million for stakes in the 10-15% range.