Unitus Ventures augments fund II with INR 75cr from SIDBI

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In this article
  • Fundraise closed amidst strong VC funding despite India’s economic slump
  • Investments will be aimed to boost job-tech startups
  • Unitus invests in Masai School
  • Unitus adds two partners

August 18th, Bengaluru: Unitus Ventures has secured an investment of INR 75cr (USD 10 Mn) under SIDBI’s Fund of Funds for Startups initiative enabled by the Government of India. This will strengthen the deployment of its second fund, which was launched in 2018. Unitus Ventures Fund II has a sharp focus on innovative startups creating technology platforms that connect millions of job seekers with appropriate employment opportunities.

Unitus has built a strong portfolio in this emerging job-tech sector. As an example, imparting programming skills of a high order that makes college graduates and dropouts alike ready for the most challenging software development jobs is a huge opportunity. With an investment of INR 8.5 Cr (USD 1.1 Mn) in Masai School, an early leader in this space, Unitus continues to strengthen its job-tech portfolio.

Raj and Indra Nooyi, former Partner, PRTM Management Consultants and former CEO of PepsiCo respectively, Lakshmi Narayanan, former vice-chairman and CEO of Cognizant, are some of the new investors who join existing investors such as Gates Ventures family office, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Hemendra Kothari in Fund II.

Commenting on his investment, Lakshmi Narayanan said, “India is at the cusp of a paradigm shift where technology will play an increasingly significant role in how mass India operates. This is percolating to newer sectors like upskilling, hiring and employee lifecycle management. Unitus has a track record of identifying promising startups with India scale and global potential in disruptive sectors.” Capria Fund, a global fund of funds investing in emerging markets, has also backed Unitus Ventures Fund II, strengthening their presence in the Indian VC ecosystem and connecting Unitus’ entrepreneurs to global markets.

Focus on “Job-tech”

As per reports, by 2022 more than 120 million employees will need reskilling and upskilling due to advances in artificial intelligence and automation. Unitus’ investment in Masai school extends the fund’s focus on job-tech.The government’s new education policy is heavily skewed towards imparting skills, & that validates Masai School’s aim to be the bridge between job-ready aspiring programmers and demanding employers.

Surya Mantha, Senior Partner, Unitus Ventures highlights, “Unitus Ventures has been a pioneer in job-tech. In an era of rapid digitisation, partnering with Masai makes tremendous sense as they address the widespread skills gap and employment readiness problem in tech jobs.”

Prateek Shukla, the CEO of Masai School, adds, “Masai has been defining the new norm of skills versus degrees, enrolling candidates based on motivation and competency in math and logical reasoning. Masai, with its online model creates a level playing field for millions of motivated youth who are otherwise left behind. The model assures a risk-free education where students pay the training fee after securing a high paying, relevant job. So far, about 56% students in Masai school have no background in Computer Science while more than 60% have come from economically weaker sections of the society & almost 70% are from tier 2/3 towns.”

Plan for Unitus Ventures Fund II

Unitus Ventures is also strengthening its team to support its latest fund.

Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner at Unitus Ventures highlights, “To maintain the fund focus and support our portfolio companies through the growth stages operating experience is pivotal. We are delighted to announce that Surya Mantha, a seasoned investor and operating executive, has joined Unitus as Senior Partner. Radha Kizhanattam, a long time member of our team, is also being elevated to Partner.”

Unitus Ventures Fund II will invest in 15-20 startups in early and scale-up stages with ticket sizes between USD 0.5 million to USD 1.5 million. The focus will be on selecting stellar founding teams who have what it takes to build and deliver differentiated products and services and the potential to be national or global market leaders.

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About Masai School

Masai School is a 21st-century career focussed skill development school. We are on a mission to find untapped or underutilized talent and to train them for the most in-demand jobs in the world. Masai School is introducing a new model of higher education in which the school invests in the students, instead of the other way around. More about Masai School >

About Unitus Ventures

Unitus Ventures is the leading venture fund in India that supports early-stage fintech, healthcare, and jobtech startups with India scale and global potential. Launched in 2012, Unitus Ventures is a founding member of Capria Network, the leading global network of emerging market fund managers collaborating to deliver superior returns and scaled impact. Unitus Ventures is based in Bangalore and Seattle. More about: https://unitus.vc and http://capria.vc/network

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