DIPP to overhaul Rs 10k Crore start-up fund

DIPP to overhaul Rs 10k Crore start-up fund

Posted by Naveen on January 16th 2017

 
The Department of Industrial Policy and P romotion (DIPP) is set to overhaul its Rs10,000 crore start-up funding scheme by allowing venture capital (VC) funds to invest half of the corpus in start-ups and the rest of it in firms at a more mature stage to reduce capital risk. The VC funds that manage the corpus on behalf of the government are currently mandated to invest the money only in start-ups.
The Union cabinet cleared the Fund of Funds for Start-ups under the Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) in June 2016 for contribution to various VC funds registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India as part of the Start-up India Action Plan unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2016.
 
The Rs10,000 crore corpus could potentially be the nucleus for catalysing Rs60,000 crore of equity investments and twice as much debt investments, according to DIPP. An amount of Rs500 crore has already been provided as fund corpus in 2015-16 and Rs600 crore has been earmarked for the current fiscal year. The fund is expected to generate employment for 1.8 million people on full deployment.
 
Cumbersome procedures to access funds from the corpus have, however, made the plan a non-starter and Sidbi has committed only Rs129 crore to VCs so far. DIPP is also considering relaxing the norm that mandates VC fund managers to invest in start-up firms with annual revenue of less than Rs.25 crore. DIPP defines a start-up for availing of government incentives as an enterprise that has been registered not more than five years ago and has annual revenue of Rs25 Crore or less in a fiscal year.
 
Union Minister for  Commerce and Industry Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman last week said after holding talks with incubators and accelerators that DIPP has called a meeting of Sidbi officials, VC funds, incubators and accelerators on 2nd  February to make the process of funding start-ups simpler, quicker and more purposeful. “Funding should also be made available to start-ups which are slightly more advanced,” she said.
 
At present, an eligible VC fund has to make a presentation before Sidbi’s Venture Capital Investment Committee (VCIC) to avail of funds from the corpus. The panel has seven external experts, including former Nasscom president Kiran Karnik, Naukri.com founder Sanjeev Bikchandani and former Infosys Ltd board member and chief financial officer T.V. Mohandas Pai. Based on VCIC’s recommendations, the fund makes an application to Sidbi, which is put before its executive committee. Upon sanction, a letter of intent is issued and a contribution agreement is signed with the VC fund. Sidbi’s decision to allow VCs to allocate 50% of the funds to start-ups will give confidence to VCs for the cause of early stage start-ups. As the number of start-ups applying to the scheme will increase, the number of VCs who would want to associate with Sidbi will also go up.( Livemint)

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