Sistema JSFC, a Russian conglomerate has jumped onto the Indian startup bandwagon. It has floated a proprietary $50-million (Rs 340 crore) Asia Fund to support Indian startups operating in the technology and niche consumer retail segments.
Sistema is the largest private investor in the knowledge-intensive industries of the Russian economy. The Group develops the pharmaceutical business, successfully invests in microelectronics and high tech.
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“The Sistema Asia Fund will start with an initial tranche of $50 million, which will be increased significantly in the near future once our startups financing business grows in India,” Sistema JSFC’s Group CFO Vsevolod Rozanov said.
Sistema is the publicly-traded diversified holding company in Russia and the CIS.
Established in 1993, today Sistema is a large private investor operating in the real sector of the Russian economy. Sistema’s investment portfolio comprises stakes in predominantly Russian companies from various sectors of economy, including telecommunications, utilities, retail, high tech, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, railway transportation, agriculture, finance, mass media, tourism, etc. Sistema is the controlling shareholder in most of its portfolio companies. Sistema’s competencies focus on improvement of the operational efficiency of acquired assets through restructuring and attracting industry partners to enhance expertise and reduce financial risks.
“We will, typically, fund tech startups and others involved in innovative consumer-centric businesses aligned with e-commerce/online retail model such as furniture leasing, food delivery to payment gateways,” said Terebenin.
He said the fund will shortly close a couple of earlystage financing deals with Indian startups operating in its preferred domains. Both Sistema JSFC executives, however, declined to confirm the potential ticket-size of such financing deals, but a person aware of the matter pegged it “upwards of $1million each”. Asia Fund will also support Indian startups in its preferred domains looking to expand into the Russian market.