Mindtree’s old guard makes a comeback… as VC investors

The founders of IT company Mindtree are returning in a venture capitalist avatar, with their early-stage fund Mela Ventures making its first close of Rs 130 crore. The overall size of the fund is targeted at Rs 200 crore.

Former Mindtree chairman KK Natarajan, NS Parthasarthy are the managing partners of the fund. Former Mindtree CEO Rostow Ravanan will be on the investment committee.

The founders let go of executive responsibilities at Mindtree soon after a hostile takeover by L&T last year.

Six of the ten MindTree founders, including the three mentioned above, along with Subroto Bagchi, Janakiraman Srinivasan and Kalyan Banerjee have invested in the venture fund, while also raising funds from external investors.

“We will look to invest in the B2B and the tech space, since that is where our expertise lies,” said Natarajan.

The fund has already made makes first commitment to a startup in AR-VR space, he said.

Mela Ventures is a SEBI-approved Category-2 AIF fund for early stage companies.

The fund is backed by institutional investors, global technology leaders and startup investors.

“We are on a mission to build next-generation entrepreneurs out of India. Towards this mission, Mela Ventures will support early-stage companies using cutting edge technologies to build B2B solutions targeted at global enterprises,” Krishnakumar Natarajan, Managing Partner, Mela Ventures, said.

“We are extremely excited to get such an overwhelming response from investors even during challenging times. This gives us confidence that we have a right mission and are here with the right strategy,” he added.

Parthasarathy N.S, Managing Partner, Mela Ventures, said: “Many of our investors are technology professionals, who share the same passion as much as we do, for meaningful technology, startup community and building Indian entrepreneurs. We look forward to this new and exciting journey.”

The fund will focus on building a portfolio in areas, such as AI/ML, AR/VR, IoT, cloud migration and deep learning technologies.