Sunday, July 14, 2024

Next Bharat Ventures: Why Is Suzuki Investing in Indian Startups?

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Japanese car company Suzuki Motor has launched its first investment fund in India, named Next Bharat Ventures, with a fund size of Rs 340 crore. This fund is aimed at supporting entrepreneurs who create social impact, especially in Tier-II and smaller regions.

Next Bharat Ventures aims to help startups in areas like agriculture, financial inclusion, rural supply chains, and rural mobility. The goal is to support businesses that make a positive impact on society.

How Will Next Bharat Ventures Operate?

Next Bharat Ventures will run through a residency program starting in October. Applications for this program began recently. The program is similar to those by Antler and Y Combinator but focuses on social impact businesses. Selected entrepreneurs will join a four-month hybrid residency program where they will get mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities. After completing the program, startups will receive equity investments between Rs 1 crore and Rs 8 crore.

Empowering “India’s Next Billion”

The fund’s goal is to empower “India’s next billion” by supporting entrepreneurs in less-represented regions, especially in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. It will focus on sectors like agritech, supply chain management, financial inclusion, and rural mobility. The fund aims to benefit workers in the informal economy, such as gig workers and waste management workers, as well as farmers and artisans.

Investment Strategy

Next Bharat Ventures will invest in growth-stage impact firms and early-stage entrepreneurs through its residency program. CEO and MD Vipul Nath Jindal explained that they also conduct Fund of Fund operations, investing in Indian Early Stage Venture Capital firms to create strong synergies for the Next Bharat Impact Fund.

Core Values and Goals

The core value of Next Bharat Ventures is to nurture and empower impact entrepreneurs who are driven by cause, contribution, and community. The aim is to support underrepresented regions, drive economic development, and foster innovation to address unique challenges faced by these communities.

Previous Initiatives

In June 2023, Maruti Suzuki India, a subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation, selected six startups under its nurture program with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP). Earlier this year, Maruti Suzuki India also acquired a 6.44% stake in Amlgo Labs.

Statements from Leadership

Toshihiro Suzuki, President and CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation, said, “Bharat has about 1.4 billion people, but we have only reached about 0.4 billion with our mobility business. Our goal is to connect with the ‘Next Billion’ people of India, extending beyond mobility and becoming a part of India’s future story.”

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