The Venture Capital Funds in India


D. Aruna Kumar
Assistant Professor (Finance & Accounting Area)
Lokamanya Tilak PG College of Management
Ibrahimpatnam, Hyderabad-501 506

This paper proposes to outline the concept and origin of Venture Capital, trace its growth, and highlight the venture capital regulations. It has briefly explained about the Chandra Sekhar Committee recommendations, various types of Venture Capital Funds and the venture capital process in India. A simple case on first Venture Capital Fund in India, Technology Development & Information Company Of India Ltd., has also developed with concluding remarks.


The venture capital investment helps for the growth of innovative entrepreneurships in India. Venture capital has developed as a result of the need to provide non-conventional, risky finance to new ventures based on innovative entrepreneurship. Venture capital is an investment in the form of equity, quasi-equity and sometimes debt - straight or conditional, made in new or untried concepts, promoted by a technically or professionally qualified entrepreneur. Venture capital means risk capital. It refers to capital investment, both equity and debt, which carries substantial risk and uncertainties. The risk envisaged may be very high may be so high as to result in total loss or very less so as to result in high gains

The concept of Venture Capital

Venture capital means many things to many people. It is in fact nearly impossible to come across one single definition of the concept.

Jane Koloski Morris, editor of the well known industry publication, Venture Economics, defines venture capital as 'providing seed, start-up and first stage financing' and also 'funding the expansion of companies that have already demonstrated their business potential but do not yet have access to the public securities market or to credit oriented institutional funding sources.

The European Venture Capital Association describes it as risk finance for entrepreneurial growth oriented companies. It is investment for the medium or long term return seeking to maximize medium or long term for both parties. It is a partnership with the entrepreneur in which the investor can add value to the company because of his knowledge, experience and contact base.

The Origin of Venture Capital

In the 1920's & 30's, the wealthy families of and individuals investors provided the start up money for companies that would later become famous. Eastern Airlines and Xerox are the more famous ventures they financed. Among the early VC funds set up was the one by the Rockfeller Family which started a special fund called VENROCK in 1950, to finance new technology companies. General Doriot, a professor at Harvard Business School, in 1946 set up the American Research and Development Corporation (ARD), the first firm, as opposed to a private individuals, at MIT to finance the commercial promotion of advanced technology developed in the US Universities. ARD's approach was a classic VC in the sense that it used only equity, invested for long term, and was prepared to live with losers. ARD's investment in Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1957 was a watershed in the history of VC financing. While in its early years vc may have been associated with high technology, over the years the concept has undergone a change and as it stands today it implies pooled investment in unlisted companies.

Venture Capital in India

In India the Venture Capital plays a vital role in the development and growth of innovative entrepreneurships. Venture Capital activity in the past was possibly done by the developmental financial institutions like IDBI, ICICI and State Financial Corporations. These institutions promoted entities in the private sector with debt as an instrument of funding. For a long time funds raised from public were used as a source of Venture Capital. This source however depended a lot on the market vagaries. And with the minimum paid up capital requirements being raised for listing at the stock exchanges, it became difficult for smaller firms with viable projects to raise funds from public. In India, the need for Venture Capital was recognised in the 7th five year plan and long term fiscal policy of GOI. In 1973 a committee on Development of small and medium enterprises highlighted the need to faster VC as a source of funding new entrepreneurs and technology. VC financing really started in India in 1988 with the formation of Technology Development and Information Company of India Ltd. (TDICI) - promoted by ICICI and UTI. The first private VC fund was sponsored by Credit Capital Finance Corporation (CFC) and promoted by Bank of India, Asian Development Bank and the Commonwealth Development Corporation viz. Credit Capital Venture Fund. At the same time Gujarat Venture Finance Ltd. and APIDC Venture Capital Ltd. were started by state level financial institutions. Sources of these funds were the financial institutions, foreign institutional investors or pension funds and high net-worth individuals. The venture capital funds in India are listed in Annexure I.

Venture Capital Investments in India

The venture capital investment in India till the year 2001 was continuously increased and thereby drastically reduced. Chart I shows that there was a tremendous growth by almost 327 percent in 1998-99, 132 percent in 1999-00, and 40 percent in 2000-01 there after venture capital investors slow down their investment. Surprisingly, there was a negative growth of 4 percent in 2001-02 it was continued and a 54 percent drastic reduction was recorded in the year 2002-2003.

Chart I 

Venture Capital Investments

Source: The Economic Times

SEBI Venture Capital Funds (VCFs) Regulations, 1996

A Venture Capital Fund means a fund established in the form of a trust/company; including a body corporate, and registered with SEBI which (i) has a dedicated pool of capital raised in a manner specified in the regulations and (ii) invests in venture capital undertakings (VCUs) in accordance with these regulations.

A Venture Capital Undertaking means a domestic company (i) whose shares are not listed on a recognised stock exchange in India and (ii) which is engaged in the business of providing services/production/manufacture of articles/things but does not include such activities/sectors as are specified in the negative list by SEBI with government approval-namely, real estate, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), gold financing, activities not permitted under the industrial policy of the Government and any other activity which may be specified by SEBI in consultation with the Government from time to time.


All VCFs must be registered with SEBI and pay Rs.25,000 as application fee and Rs. 5,00,000 as registration fee for grant of certificate.

Recommendations of SEBI (Chandrasekhar) Committee, 2000 SEBI appointed the Chandrasekhar Committee to identify the impediments in the growth of venture capital industry in the country and suggest suitable measures for its rapid growth. Its report was submitted in January, 2000. The recommendations pertain to
1. Harmonisation of multiplicity of regulations
2. VCF structures
3. Resource raising
4. Investments
5. Exit
6. SEBI regulations
7. Company law related issues and
8. Other related issues.

Types of Venture Capital Funds

Generally there are three types of organised or institutional venture capital funds: venture capital funds set up by angel investors, that is, high net worth individual investors; venture capital subsidiaries of corporations and private venture capital firms/ funds. Venture capital subsidiaries are established by major corporations, commercial bank holding companies and other financial institutions. Venture funds in India can be classified on the basis of the type of promoters.

1 . VCFs promoted by the Central govt. controlled development financial institutions such as TDICI, by ICICI, Risk capital and Technology Finance Corporation Limited (RCTFC) by the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) and Risk Capital Fund by IDBI.
2. VCFs promoted by the state government-controlled development finance institutions such as Andhra Pradesh Venture Capital Limited (APVCL) by Andhra Pradesh State Finance Corporation (APSFC) and Gujarat Venture Finance Company Limited (GVCFL) by Gujarat Industrial Investment Corporation (GIIC)
3. VCFs promoted by Public Sector banks such as Canfina by Canara Bank and SBI-Cap by State Bank of India.
4. VCFs promoted by the foreign banks or private sector companies and financial institutions such as Indus Venture Fund, Credit Capital Venture Fund and Grindlay's India Development Fund.

The Venture Capital Investment Process:

The venture capital activity is a sequential process involving the following six steps.

1. Deal origination
2. Screening
3. Due diligence Evaluation)
4. Deal structuring
5. Post-investment activity
6. Exist

Venture Capital Investment Process

Deal origination:

In generating a deal flow, the VC investor creates a pipeline of deals or investment opportunities that he would consider for investing in. Deal may originate in various ways. referral system, active search system, and intermediaries. Referral system is an important source of deals. Deals may be referred to VCFs by their parent organisaions, trade partners, industry associations, friends etc. Another deal flow is active search through networks, trade fairs, conferences, seminars, foreign visits etc. Intermediaries is used by venture capitalists in developed countries like USA, is certain intermediaries who match VCFs and the potential entrepreneurs.


VCFs, before going for an in-depth analysis, carry out initial screening of all projects on the basis of some broad criteria. For example, the screening process may limit projects to areas in which the venture capitalist is familiar in terms of technology, or product, or market scope. The size of investment, geographical location and stage of financing could also be used as the broad screening criteria.

Due Diligence:

Due diligence is the industry jargon for all the activities that are associated with evaluating an investment proposal. The venture capitalists evaluate the quality of entrepreneur before appraising the characteristics of the product, market or technology. Most venture capitalists ask for a business plan to make an assessment of the possible risk and return on the venture. Business plan contains detailed information about the proposed venture. The evaluation of ventures by VCFs in India includes;

Preliminary evaluation: The applicant required to provide a brief profile of the proposed venture to establish prima facie eligibility.

Detailed evaluation: Once the preliminary evaluation is over, the proposal is evaluated in greater detail. VCFs in India expect the entrepreneur to have:-  Integrity, long-term vision, urge to grow, managerial skills, commercial orientation.

VCFs in India also make the risk analysis of the proposed projects which includes: Product risk, Market risk, Technological risk and Entrepreneurial risk. The final decision is taken in terms of the expected risk-return trade-off as shown in Figure.

Deal Structuring:

In this process, the venture capitalist and the venture company negotiate the terms of the deals, that is, the amount, form and price of the investment. This process is termed as deal structuring. The agreement also include the venture capitalist's right to control the venture company and to change its management if needed, buyback arrangements, acquisition, making initial public offerings (IPOs), etc. Earned out arrangements specify the entrequreneur's equity share and the objectives to be achieved.

Post Investment Activities:

Once the deal has been structured and agreement finalised, the venture capitalist generally assumes the role of a partner and collaborator. He also gets involved in shaping of the direction of the venture. The degree of the venture capitalist's involvement depends on his policy. It may not, however, be desirable for a venture capitalist to get involved in the day-to-day operation of the venture. If a financial or managerial crisis occurs, the venture capitalist may intervene, and even install a new management team.


Venture capitalists generally want to cash-out their gains in five to ten years after the initial investment. They play a positive role in directing the company towards particular exit routes. A venture may exit in one of the following ways:

1. Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)
2. Acquisition by another company
3. Purchase of the venture capitalist's shares by the promoter, or
4. Purchase of the venture capitalist's share by an outsider.

Methods of Venture Financing

Venture capital is typically available in three forms in India, they are:

Equity : All VCFs in India provide equity but generally their contribution does not exceed 49 percent of the total equity capital. Thus, the effective control and majority ownership of the firm remains with the entrepreneur.  They buy shares of an enterprise with an intention to ultimately sell them off to make capital gains.

Conditional Loan: It is repayable in the form of a royalty after the venture is able to generate sales. No interest is paid on such loans. In India, VCFs charge royalty ranging between 2 to 15 percent; actual rate depends on other factors of the venture such as gestation period, cost-flow patterns, riskiness and other factors of the enterprise.

Income Note : It is a hybrid security which combines the features of both conventional loan and conditional loan. The entrepreneur has to pay both interest and royalty on sales, but at substantially low rates.

Other Financing Methods: A few venture capitalists, particularly in the private sector, have started introducing innovative financial securities like participating debentures, introduced by TCFC is an example.

A Case on Technology Development & Information Company Of India Ltd.

TDICI was incorporated in January 1988 with the support of the ICICI and the UTI. The country's first venture fund managed by the TDICI called VECAUS ( Venture Capital Units Scheme) was started with an initial corpus of Rs.20 crore and was completely committed to 37 small and medium enterprises. The first project of the TDICI was loan and equity to a computer software company called Kale Consultants.

Present Status: At present the TDICI is administering two UTI –mobilised funds under VECAUS-I and II, totaling Rs.120 crore. the Rs.20 crore invested under the first fund, VECAUS-I, has already yielded returns totaling Rs. 16 crore to its investors.

Some of the projects financed by the TDICI are discussed below.

MASTEK , a Mumbai based software firm, in which the TDICI invested Rs.42 lakh in equity in 1989, went public just three years later, in November 1992. It showed an annual growth of 70-80 percent in the turnover.

TEMPTATION FOODS, located in PUNE, which exports frozen vegetables and fruits, went public in November 1992.  The TDICI invested Rs.50 lakh in its equity.

RISHABH INSTRUMENTS of Nasik got Rs.40 lakh from the TDICI. It manufactures a range of meters used in power stations in collaboration with the ABB Metra Watt of Germany. After making cash losses totaling Rs.25 lakh in two bad years, it turned around in 1989 and showed an increase of over 70 percent in the turnover.

SYNERGY ART FOUNDATION, which runs art galleries in Mumbai and Chennai and plans to set up in Pune and Delhi too, had received Rs.25 lakh from the TDICI as convertible loans which were converted into equity on march 31, 1994. Most of this money has been used for the company's innovative art library scheme at least paintings to corporate clients.


In recent years the growth of Venture Capital Business has been drastically decreasing due to many reasons. The regulator has to liberalize the stringent policies and pave the way to the venture capital investors to park their funds in most profitable ventures. Though an attempt was also made to raise funds from the public and fund new ventures, the venture capitalists had hardly any impact on the economic scenario for the next few years. At present many investments of venture capitalists in India remain on paper as they do not have any means of exit. Appropriate changes have to be made to the existing systems in order that venture capitalists find it easier to realize their investments after holding on to them for a certain period of time.

(The author acknowledges Prof. R K Mishra, Director, Institute of Public Enterprise, Osmania University, Hyderabad, for his immense help and encouragement and Dr. S S S Kumar, Assistant Professor, Finance and Accounting Area, Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, for his motivation and inspiration)

Annexure I

Some important Venture Capital Funds in India

1. APIDC Venture Capital Limited ,1102, Babukhan Estate, Hyderabad 500 001
2. Canbank Venture Capital Fund Limited, IInd Floor, Kareem Towers, Bangalore
3. Gujarat Venture Capital Fund 1997, Ashram Road, Ahmedabad 380 009
4. Industrial Venture Capital Limited, Thyagaraya Road, Chennai 600 017
5. Auto Ancillary Fund Opp. Signals Enclave, New Delhi 110 010
6. Gujarat Venture Capital Fund 1995 Ashram Road  Ahmedabad 380 009
7. Karnataka Information Technology Venture Capital Fund Cunningham Rd Bangalore
8. India Auto Ancillary Fund Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021
9. Information Technology Fund, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021
10. Tamilnadu Infotech Fund  Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021
11. Orissa Venture Capital Fund  Nariman Point Mumbai 400 021
12. Uttar Pradesh Venture Capital Fund Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021
13. SICOM Venture Capital Fund Nariman Point Mumbai 400 021 
14. Punjab Infotech Venture Fund 18 Himalaya Marg, Chandigarh 160 017
15. National Venture Fund for Software and Information Technology Industry, Nariman Point,
Mumbai 400 021


1. NVCA and Venture Economics - 1999 National Venture Capital Yearbook.
2. I M Pandey – Venture Capital Development Process in India, Technovation, Vol.18, 1998
3. I M Pandey – Venture Capital: The Indian Experience, New Delhi: Prentice Hall, 1996
4. McKinsey & Company - US Venture Capital Industry – Industry Overview and Economics (Summary Document), September, 1998
5. Indian Venture Capital Association - IVCA Venture Activity 1997
6. Steven P. Galante, Editor and Publisher, The Private Equity Analyst newsletter - An Overview of the Venture Capital Industry and Emerging Changes
7. The Securities and Exchange Board of India - SEBI (Venture Capital Funds) Regulations, 1996
8. Mr. Sudhir Sethi, Director, Walden-India - Accessing Venture Capital Funds, June 1999
9. The Economic Times daily

About the Author:
D. Aruna Kumar, MCom, MBA, (Ph.D.)
The Author is with Lokamanya Tilak PG College of Management as Assistant Professor in the Department of Business Management in the area of Finance and Accounting. He is working for his Ph.D. on "New Financing Instruments with reference to Central Public Enterprises", under the guidance of Prof. R.K. Mishra, Director, Institute of Public Enterprise, Osmania University, Hyderabad -500 007.

D. Aruna Kumar
Assistant Professor (Finance & Accounting Area)
Lokamanya Tilak PG College of Management
Ibrahimpatnam, Hyderabad-501 506

Source: E-mail July 3, 2005


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