Rahul Chandra, Managing Director of Helion Venture Partners, has started his own venture capital firm named Unitary Helion. The fund aims to raise about $100 million and will be investing in the financial technology space.
The move comes after Helion Venture Partners stopped making new investments last year. This was because of its team, which decided to go their separate ways.
The new fund, Unitary Helion, is planning to make its first close of the fund by October at about $40 million. After closing the first leg of the funding, it will start investing in startups.
Along with family offices, the fund is also said to in talks with “several strategic investors in the financial services space and banks” to raise the initial amount. It also plans to add partner and a principal after the first close.
Unitary Helion will be investing in early-stage startups, building a portfolio of 18 to 20 companies, with an average investment size of $2-5 million. The fund will invest about half of the corpus in financial technology space, with a focus towards companies that are building different types of payment layers upon which lending services can be built up.
Other areas of focus for the firm will be digital marketplaces in areas like agriculture, logistics and healthcare. Rahul Chandra said,
These areas [network, payments and alternate lending] form a stack to enable new participants to thrive economically. The opportunities these three layers represent are replicable across mega sectors like financial services, agri, logistics and healthcare.
Payment is very important for lending in India because bulk of the borrowers will not have collateral.
The firm has also roped in Jonathan Hsu, head of data science at Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Social Capital, as a special advisor. He will help the firm to build in-house data analytics tools for all vertical focus areas.
Other advisors include Sanjeev Aggarwal and Ashish Gupta, who were senior managing directors at Helion. They will provide operational, infrastructure and advisory support. The trio will also continue to manage Helion Venture Partner’s existing portfolio of 35 companies.
Sanjeev Aggarwal is setting up a venture capital firm with Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani to invest in more mature startups, while Ashish Gupta plans to continue making seed investments in his personal capacity.
Earlier, in 2015, Helion had announced its plans to raise its fourth fund of $300 million. But, the plans were put on hold after three of its partners left to float their own investment firm named Stellaris Venture Partners. Last year, the firm finally decided to scrap its plans for a new venture fund as the remaining partners also decided to go their own ways.