In an important development, Binny Bansal, the co-founder and former Group CEO of e-commerce behemoth Flipkart is transitioning from being an entrepreneur to a full-time investor.
Known to be an aggressive supporter of startups and of people willing to begin their own business, Bansal has been planning to launch a VC fund aimed at backing early stage startups with a corpus of $300-400 million.
Binny Bansal has been selling his shares over the last few months, with his shareholding touching $1 billion post Flipkart being acquired by US-based retail giant Walmart in a $16 billion deal in August 2018, as he looks to invest in startups now. He had sold his shares worth about $14 million last week to Tiger Global Management.
Bansal has also teamed up with ex-Flipkart executive Rajneesh Baweja to take care of financial and legal aspects of the fund. He has plans to invest about 10-20% of the fund and bring other investors, such as SoftBank’s Fund of Funds and other family offices on board. He is reported to be General Partner (GP) of the fund, which will be focused on startups in the Indian and Southeast Asian market.
Not long after he had exited from Flipkart in November last year, that Bansal started another venture to help growth-stage startups – xto10x Technologies and continue to invest in startups across various sectors, along with former McKinsey consultant Saikiran Krishnamurthy to provide learning, tools and other consulting services to growth-stage startups.
Bansal also led a series C round worth $65 million in Amazon-backed Acko with $25 million in his personal capacity. Also a few months ago he had backed a slew of startups like- SpotDraft, SigTuple, House of Masaba and Increff.
In July, Binny also led a final tranche in venture debt fund Alteria Capital’s maiden fund worth Rs 960 crore.
He has also reportedly shifted base to Singapore, a place known for being flexible in terms of tax structure, infrastructure, and policy for startups. The investment policy, unlike the Indian FDI policy, is more flexible in Singapore. The name of the company hasn’t been disclosed yet, and it may start operations by the end of 2019.
Observers see this move by Binny Bansal to turn into a VC to be similar to what many entrepreneurs in matured economies like China and US do, though in the Indian context, several entrepreneurs have started their second ventures with notable names such as Kunal Shah, Mukesh Bansal and Sachin Bansal starting new ventures post exit.