pi Ventures, an early-stage venture fund that invests in AI and deeptech startups, has secured INR 100 Cr (approximately $13.4 million) in commitments from Fund of Funds for Startups (FFS), a fund managed by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI). The fund will be used to back Seed, Pre-Series A, and Series A startups operating in AI and deeptech segments. Founded in 2016 by Manish Singhal, pi Ventures has invested in seven startups, including ImmunitoAI and Preimage in India, Ottonomy.IO in the US, and Silence Laboratories in Singapore. The latest funding round follows the INR 22 Cr investment from Belgium’s Colruyt Group that pi Ventures received in March 2023.
The fund infusion has come at a time when the Indian startup ecosystem has been going through a funding crisis, market inflation, impending recession etc. It’s great to see that despite the challenging economic environment, there are still investment firms and individuals who are willing to support Indian startups. The backing of FFS by a diverse group of investors including BII, Nippon India Digital Innovation AIF, Accel, Colruyt, and prominent individuals from the technology and business sectors such as Binny Bansal, Varun Alagh, and Deep Kalra, among others, shows a strong vote of confidence in the Indian startup ecosystem. The fund infusion could provide much-needed capital to early-stage startups working in AI and deeptech segments and help them navigate the ongoing funding crisis and market uncertainties. Despite the challenges faced by the Indian startup ecosystem such as funding crisis, market inflation, and recession, there are still investment firms like pi Ventures that are making commitments to back early-stage startups working in AI and deeptech segments. This is an indication that investors are still hopeful about the potential of Indian startups and are willing to invest in them despite the challenging economic conditions. Additionally, the Indian government has also launched various initiatives and measures to support startups and entrepreneurs, which may also help in improving the overall startup ecosystem in the country.