Lighthouse Canton marks first close of maiden India venture debt fund

 Lighthouse Canton marks first close of maiden India venture debt fund

Lighthouse Canton, a Singapore-based investment house that offers wealth and asset management services, has hit the first close of its maiden venture debt fund focused on Indian startups.

It has marked the first close at Rs 155.4 crore ($19 million). The fund, created as a category II AIF under SEBI’s norms, has a target of Rs 550 crore and a greenshoe option of additional Rs 550 crore. It could raise as much as Rs 1100 crore or $135 million in the process.

The fund has seen participation from onshore and offshore institutions and family offices.

Venture debt is an alternative source of finance for startups that are typically already backed by other venture capital firms. Lighthouse Canton had announced it was entering the field last year.

It joins others in the space such as Edelweiss, Strides, Alteria, Trifecta and InnoVen who have raised or are in the process of raising around $1 billion to finance Indian startups.

Lighthouse Canton’s Global Head of Asset Management, Sanket Sinha, noted: “In more mature venture ecosystems such as the US and Europe, venture debt has risen to 15-20% of the total VC funding, whereas this proportion is less than 2% in India. Given the growth of venture ecosystem in India, we see tremendous opportunity for venture debt, and we expect the size of this market to grow 3-4x in the next five years.”

“Given that our venture debt strategy is regional, we can also support a startup with aspirations to expand out of the domestic market. Our presence in other markets uniquely positions us to partner with companies with international expansion plans and help them with their financing needs,” added Lighthouse Canton’s Director for venture debt, Ankit Agrawal.

LC Venture Debt fund expects to deploy the capital in the next two years across 35-40 companies.

The fund follows the recently closed Rs 300 crore LC Nueva Fund, strengthening Lighthouse Canton’s foothold in the region’s startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem. It had made the first close of this venture fund last year.

Vivek Sinha

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