India’s only domestic venture fund, the India Innovation Fund, backed by software services major TCS and telecom giant Airtel, announced its second investment last week. The IIF declared that it would invest Rs. 10 crore in Bangalore-based digital media and technology start-up SureWaves MediaTech. Founded in 2006, SureWaves offers an integrated media grid through the latest advances in Cloud Computing technology, with the aim to allow advertisers to work through a single platform.
While it is definitely wonderful that there is an agency like the IIF, which looks to fund innovation in India, the overwhelming focus remains on technology-related innovations, which may not necessarily benefit consumers or users, but rather support big corporations and institutions.
IIF typically invests in early stage start-ups focused in information , communication technology and life science sectors. It invested Rs 2.5 crore last year in Bangalore-based Mitra Biotech founded in 2009 by researchers from MIT and Harvard. “The fund now plans to complete six deals and expects to expand its corpus to Rs 100 crore by the end of this year,” said Ashwin Raguraman , vice-president at India Innovation Fund. Ramadorai of TCS said the fund was set up in April 2010, to address the lack of early-stage capital , insufficient guidance on business aspects, and lack of easy market access for start-ups in India.