In a bid to accelerate the vibrant startup ecosystem in the state, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) has invited Request for Proposal (RFP) from SEBI-accredited Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) under its ‘Fund-of-Fund’ scheme.
Selected AIFs will receive funds from the state government to invest in the startups from Kerala and thus meet the fund requirements of fledgling technology enterprises. KSUM, the nodal agency of the Kerala Government for innovation and entrepreneurship, has invited the RFP online and the details can be had from https://startupmission.kerala.gov.in/programs/fof/
Interested AIFs who meet the pre-qualification criteria can submit their Expression of Interest (EoI) on or before November 30. After completing the bid process, the final selections will be announced on December 29. The RFP stipulates that the funds invested by the Kerala government, in the capacity of a Limited Partner to such AIFs, shall not be more than 25% of the total scheme/fund corpus of the AIF.
Based on the Kerala Technology Startup Policy 2014, the state government had launched the Kerala Startup Corpus Fund, a first of its kind initiative in India. A total corpus fund of Rs 25 crore was then created with the support of two SEBI-registered AIFs — Unicorn Ventures India and SEA Fund. Out of this Rs 25 crore, an amount of Rs 12.5 crore was pooled in by the state government and the other half by those two AIFs.
Using the Kerala Startup Corpus Fund, seven investments have been made into Kerala based startups, including Genrobotics which developed a robotic system (Bandicoot) for manhole and sewer line cleaning, within a short period of four months. KSUM now plans to make additional investment into eligible AIFs for providing further impetus to Kerala startup ecosystem.
“The objective of the present RFP is as part of the government’s plans to make additional investment into eligible AIFs for supporting exclusively the emerging startups in the state through venture investments,” said Dr. Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM.
Describing AIF investments as the largest source of capital for startups, he said these are necessary for such startups to achieve accelerated growth and help the state government achieve its goal of transforming Kerala as a hub for startup innovations.
More than 200 startups are presently working from KSUM’s five incubation facilities at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kasargod. In addition, over 200 startups are working from the incubation facilities set up by 20 incubators (both private and public) across the state. Kerala also has around 1,500 mature startups working in emerging technology areas serving markets across the globe through innovative products and services.