Startup Street: A Japanese Fund Wants To Spend ¥3 Billion On Indian Startups

Here’s what went on this week on Startup Street...

Japanese 10,000 yen banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Japan. (Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg)
Japanese 10,000 yen banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Japan. (Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg)

This week on Startup Street, a Japanese venture capitalist firm’s Indian unit launched a new fund for pre-seed stage startups. Rajan Anandan quit as Google India head to join Sequoia India, and data from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade showed that startups are receiving patents sooner than they used to. Here’s what went on...

Incubate Fund India Will Raise Fresh Funds This Summer

A Japanese venture capitalist firm’s Indian arm is set to launch a ¥3-billion fund for seed- to early-stage startups in the country. The amount, that will reach certain startups this summer, will come close to Rs 187 crore based on the current conversion rates.

Incubate Fund will send experienced staff from Japan to scout for startups in India, Nikkei Asia Review reported.

So far, the parent firm raised $137.2 million through three funds, the first worth $23.7 million, the second worth ¥2.1 billion and the third worth $91 million, according to Crunchbase.

Incubate Fund India was launched in May 2016 and has since invested in several Indian startups, the most recent is a $2-million Series A investment in StayAbode, according to its website. It also made investments in other startups such as ShupKirana, GamingMonk, Yulu Bikes, Tripeur, Skillate, WinkPe and Nimble Wireless, among others.

Besides Incubate Fund, Masayoshi Son’s Softbank, Akatsuki Entertainment Technology, Yamaha Motor Company, Axan Partners, Mitsui and Gunosy have invested in Indian startups.

120 Startups Received Patents Since 2015

As many as 120 startups received patents for their products over the last 18 months under the Startup India action plan, according to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade’s data.

A total of 450 applications were filed since 2016 under the fast examination facility as on March 31, 2019. Of which, 120 patents were granted and 42 were declined for various reasons.

Generally, it takes four to seven years to grant patents, but the department is taking steps to drastically reduce this to 18 months, newswire PTI reported.

Tamil Nadu-based startup MicroGO received the patent for its ‘Tubelet’ technology, mainly used for water purification, sanitisation and sterilisation, in just 101 days, the data showed. Another startup from Jammu and Kashmir, SID07 Designs, received the patent for its product—single-step automobile wheel-nut assembly machine—in six months.

The DPIIT also launched a scheme to facilitate filing of intellectual property applications by startups. It empanelled facilitators whose fees are borne by the government. It provides 80 percent rebate in patent filing and 50 percent for trademarks. They also have a facility for expeditious examination of patent applications by startups.

(With inputs from PTI.)

Google’s Rajan Anandan Joins Sequoia India

Rajan Anandan, former president  of South East Asia and India at Google Inc. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)
Rajan Anandan, former president of South East Asia and India at Google Inc. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Rajan Anandan stepped down as head of Google India to join Sequoia Capital India as its managing director.

“He will join the leadership team at the firm, in addition to the six current managing directors, where he will focus on developing Surge (a rapid scale-up programme) into the world’s top scale-up program for startups by acting as an investment advisor and mentor to the program’s founders,” Sequoia Capital India said in a statement.

A prolific angel investor who has backed a large number of successful startups at very early stages, Anandan also led Microsoft and Dell in India, and was a partner at McKinsey & Co in Chicago.

“Rajan’s deep understanding of technology, significant operating expertise and track record of growing tech businesses across the region will help Surge founders scale and build the transformational businesses of tomorrow,” a Sequoia managing director wrote in a LinkedIn post.

Anandan on Twitter said, “There simply hasn’t been a better time to startup in India.” Others from the startup community, too, welcomed Anandan.

The AI Assistant That Can Help Ambani Take On Siri And Alexa

The chat-bot venture Aakrit Vaish, 32, co-founded with his University of Illinois batchmate nearly ran out of cash about four years ago after an investor backed out at the last minute. Luckily, they found another one just in time, helping Haptik Infotech Pvt. Ltd. survive. The startup will now help power Asia’s richest man’s bid to take on Siri and Alexa in India.

Reliance Jio Digital Services Ltd., part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s telecom venture, bought 87 percent in the company for Rs 700 crore. Haptik founders and employees will hold the rest. It’s the biggest such deal involving an artificial intelligence-backed service in India.

The AI Assistant That Can Help Mukesh Ambani Take On Siri And Alexa