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Aavishkar backs India’s out of the loop innovators[continued]

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Raising money:

FoSS and Anil Gupta's GIAN parted ways here. FoSS had decided to look for ideas outside the GIAN stable as well. They have gone about constructing a robust framework under the banner Aavishkaar, meaning 'innovation'. At the fund raising level is Aavishkaar International [AI] based in Singapore. Dr V Anantha Nageswaran a senior executive with Credit Suisse and Mr Arun Diaz, head of Reuters Consulting are two of its many activists. AI gathers capital from people who believe in India's potential and want to invest in support. There is a minimum level of Rs. 500,000 for one directly investing in into AIMVCF. There is no such limit for investing in foreign currency into AI, Singapore. They have so far raised over Rs.20 million. Their target is Rs. 50 million.

Dr. Krithi Ramamritham, a member of the board [--and Computer Science Professor at the Kanwal Rekhi School of IT at IIT, Powai] has invested not only because it's a good cause but also good business. He, Nageswaran, Diaz, Meehan and Singh have contributed 18% of the corpus. So they have put their money where their hearts are. Nageswran says,"the interesting thing about the investor list is that there are two Swiss economists, two Singaporeans [Chinese], one French and one Englishman." It would seem a lot of people around the world would bet on the Indian mind.

Aavishkaar hopes many more would come on board and make it a big India wide movement. They wish to make it more than a money thing. For example, they wish to create a Mentor Corps made of committed professionals in India who are willing to volunteer their time, experience and skills to entrepreneurs that AIMVCF picks.

AI's funds are invested in Aavishkaar India Micro venture Capital Fund [AIMVCF]. AI's investment in AIMVCF was approved by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board [FIPB] within five weeks solely on the strength of the investment idea. FIPB approval means that both capital and returns made by AIMVCF are freely repatriable to AI. AIMVCF is headed by Mr. Vineet Rai who had, in fact, worked for GIAN. He provides the continuity.

AIMVCF is organised as a Trust and is an approved venture fund under the venture capital regulations of the Securities Exchange Board of India. They are focusing on the west and south of India to begin with.

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