ADB’s VC arm seals debut India deals; seeks $100 mn for debt fund

 ADB’s VC arm seals debut India deals; seeks $100 mn for debt fund

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) new venture arm has invested in Indian companies Euler Motors Pvt. Ltd and Smart Joules Pvt. Ltd, marking its first two investments, even as it hits the road to raise a debt fund.

ADB Ventures took part in the Series A financing rounds of the two companies, it said on Wednesday.

The VC firm seeks to invest in early-stage technology companies globally that address urgent development challenges in emerging Asia and the Pacific region.

The firm made the twin investments from its first vehicle, the ADB Ventures Equity Fund. The fund raised $60 million in funding commitments last year from the Korean and Finland governments as well as the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund and the Nordic Development Fund.

ADB Ventures said it participated in a $9.4-million funding round in Euler Motors. Other investors in the round included early-stage investment firms Blume Ventures and Inventus Capital Partners.

Euler is an electric vehicle manufacturer and fleet operator. It focuses on last-mile commercial logistics.

Smart Joules raised $4.1 million in its Series A round led by Sangam and ADB Ventures. Max I. Ltd and some angel investors also participated in this round.

Smart Joules provides energy efficiency-as-a-service for large hospitals and commercial buildings. It claims it delivers savings of up to 40% on energy costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

ADB Ventures didn’t specify the amount it invested in the two companies. However, its first fund’s mandate is to invest up to $4 million in a company.

“ADB Ventures will spur high-impact cleantech, agritech, fintech, and healthtech innovations in developing Asia with its ecosystem building,” said ADB vice-president Ashok Lavasa. “Our vision is to crowd-in $1 billion of commercial investment towards the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

Debt fund

Apart from the equity fund, ADB also has a seed funding programme for startups wherein it invests up to $200,000 in a company.

Separately, the Manila-based multilateral lender is aiming to raise at least $100 million for the ADB Ventures Debt Fund. It aims to operationalize the fund next year.

The debt fund will seek to invest as much as $8 million in a company. While the equity fund would participate in pre-Series A and Series A rounds, the debt vehicle would take part in the Series B stage and beyond.

The debt fund will also have a narrower focus than the seed and the equity funds. It will invest mainly in clean-tech and agri-tech companies. The equity fund and the seed programme aim to invest in clean-tech, agri-tech, fintech and health-tech companies.

Sumit Upadhyaya

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