Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder and CEO of Paytm, introduced a Category II Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) known as the ‘VSS Investments Fund.’ The SEBI-approved VSS Investments Fund, dedicated an initial corpus of Rs 20 crore and a Rs 10 crore green shoe option, is dedicated to nurturing India-based startups focused on serving Indian consumers and businesses, according to a statement.
The recently established fund is primarily centered on channeling investments into burgeoning Indian startups that are actively engaged in the dynamic and cutting-edge fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Electric Vehicles (EV). It is imperative that these startups have their roots in India, having been nurtured and developed within the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This strategic focus on AI and EV sectors reflects a recognition of the growing importance of these industries in shaping the future of technology and mobility within India. AI holds the promise of transforming various sectors, from healthcare and finance to manufacturing and education, while Electric Vehicles are seen as a key solution to address environmental concerns and transportation needs in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner.
By concentrating investments in startups within these domains, the fund aims to foster innovation, drive economic growth, and propel India towards a more technologically advanced and sustainable future.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma expressed his belief in the immense potential of the Indian startup ecosystem, emphasizing that the country harbors some of the most talented and innovative entrepreneurs globally. He further highlighted India’s ambition to become a $10 Trillion Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) economy, which, in his view, hinges on fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in the fields of advanced technology and AI-driven advancements.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, well-known for his backing of innovative enterprises, disclosed that this fund will additionally streamline the process of making subsequent investments in the realms of consumer technology and B2B technology. Throughout the years, Sharma has demonstrated his endorsement of several startups, such as Ola Electric, GoQii, Daalchini, Treebo Hotels, Josh Talks, UNNATI, KWH Bikes, LeverageEdu, and KAWA Space, to name just a few.
Sharma revealed his intention to be a leading contributor to the fund, and he will be joined by a select group of external investors. The AIF is sponsored by VSS Investco Private Limited, which is an entity owned and overseen by Sharma. He also serves as the founder and chief executive of One 97 Communications, the company behind the digital payments platform, Paytm.
It’s noteworthy that in 2018, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, in collaboration with venture capitalist Shailesh Vickram Singh of Seedfund, launched the ‘Massive Fund.’ This climate-focused fund was established to allocate approximately $150 million in investments to startups that address critical areas, including food, agriculture, air and water pollution, renewable energy, recyclables, and mobility in India.