Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder and CEO of fintech major Paytm, has announced the launch of the VSS Investments Fund. This investment fund is poised to play a pivotal role in supporting and nurturing promising Indian startups at an early stage, with a particular focus on advanced technologies, including AI (a rather common name to crop up in recent months) and EVs.

According to reports, the Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) VSS Investments Fund boasts a total target corpus of ₹30 crore. Within this corpus, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)-approved Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) scheme accounts for ₹20 crore. Additionally, the fund includes a green shoe option of ₹10 crore.

This development comes a few years after Sharma, in collaboration with venture capitalist Shailesh Vickram Singh, launched the “Massive Fund.” That was back in 2018, and at that time, the climate fund aimed to invest approximately $150 million in Indian startups addressing critical areas such as food, agriculture, air and water pollution, renewable energy, recyclables, and mobility.

“The Indian startup ecosystem has some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the world, and we have the potential to become a powerhouse of advanced technology and AI-driven innovations. India’s aspiration to be a $10 trillion Aatmanirbhar economy will be defined by the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. The launch of this fund is a continuation of my belief in supporting young and promising Indian founders, aligned with the fact that technology has a huge role to play in the development of the country,” Sharma commented on the matter.

According to the statement, Sharma’s investment vehicle, the VSS Investments Fund, is strategically positioned to identify and support startups involved in pioneering AI and EV technologies. These startups are not only incubated within India but also demonstrate a focused commitment to serving Indian consumers and businesses. The fund’s objective is to accelerate the growth of these emerging technology sectors in the Indian market. By providing support to startups incubated in India, the fund is poised to strengthen the nation’s tech prowess. It is on the path to foster a nurturing environment for homegrown innovations and contributes to the growth of a vibrant and self-reliant tech industry in India. This, in turn, could help the nation achieve its goal of becoming a global technology leader. And by focussing on emerging tech like AI and EVs, the fund is likely to inspire and empower more aspiring entrepreneurs to take the plunge and work on innovative solutions.

The VSS Investments Fund is also expected to facilitate follow-on investments in consumer and business-to-business (B2B) technology startups. And if this is not enough, India’s aspiration to be a $10 trillion Atmanirbhar economy is significantly impacted by the development of the technology sector. By focusing on advanced tech and innovations, the fund contributes to enhancing India’s economic resilience, and a robust tech ecosystem can reduce dependency on foreign technologies and strengthen India’s economic autonomy. While Sharma will remain one of the primary contributors of the fund, there will be a few additional external investors to the VSS Investments Fund. VSS Investco Private Limited – another firm owned by Sharma – sponsors the AIF.