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Japan's Suzuki launches Rs 340 crore Next Bharat Ventures fund for Indian startups

Sumit Vishwakarma
New Update
Suzuki launches Rs 340 crore Next Bharat Ventures fund

Japanese automobile firm Suzuki Motor has launched its first investment fund in India, named Next Bharat Ventures, with a corpus of Rs 340 crore.

The fund is dedicated to fostering impact entrepreneurs who create value in Tier-II and below geographies.

The initiative aims to support social impact startups in sectors such as agriculture, financial inclusion, rural supply chains, and rural mobility.

How will Next Bharat Ventures operate?


Next Bharat Ventures will function through a residency program, with its first cohort beginning in October this year. Applications for this program started on Thursday.

The program will be similar to those run by Antler and Y Combinator, but with a focus on firms that will make a social impact.

During the four-month hybrid residency program, selected impact entrepreneurs will receive extensive mentorship, access to resources, and networking opportunities with industry experts and peers.

Post-completion of the program, the startups will receive equity investments ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 8 crore.

Aims to empower "India's next billion"

Next Bharat Ventures aims to empower "India's next billion" by supporting impact entrepreneurs in underrepresented regions. It places a strong emphasis on businesses from Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

The fund will focus on sectors like agritech, supply chain management, financial inclusion, and rural mobility.

It will benefit workers in the informal economy, such as gig workers and waste management workers, as well as those involved in the rural economy, like farmers and artisans.

Investing in growth-stage impact firms

"Next Bharat will invest in growth-stage impact firms and early-stage impact entrepreneurs through its flagship residency program," said Vipul Nath Jindal, CEO and MD of Next Bharat.

"In order to improve synergy among our early-stage portfolio, we do Fund of Fund operations, investing in Indian Early Stage Venture Capital firms. This investment will also help in establishing strong strategic synergies for the Next Bharat Impact Fund."

Jindal added, "The core value of Next Bharat lies in nurturing and empowering impact entrepreneurs who are driven by cause, contribution, and community. We aim to empower underrepresented regions, drive economic development, and foster a culture of innovation that addresses the unique challenges faced by these communities."

In June 2023, Maruti Suzuki India, a subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation, selected six startups, including DriverShaab, Route2Jute, OiHelp, Hopun Innovations, Backyard Creators, and Salutem Ridegear, under its nurture program conducted jointly with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP).

Earlier this year, Maruti Suzuki India also acquired a 6.44% stake in Amlgo Labs.

Toshihiro Suzuki, President and CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation, stated, "Bharat has about 1.4 billion people, but we have only reached about 0.4 billion with our mobility business. Our goal is to connect with the 'Next Billion' people of India, extending beyond mobility and becoming a part of India's future story."