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gradCapital launches $6-million fund for students’ startups

Bengaluru-based venture capital fund gradCapital has launched its second fund of $6 million (about Rs 49 crore) to invest in students’ startups. On Friday, the venture capital fund announced that it would provide a standard cheque for $40,000 (roughly Rs. 33 lakh) in exchange for 4% of the equity in companies set up by students.

According to the company, the selected entrepreneurs will participate in a four-week cohort programme in Bengaluru that will include meetings with Tarun Mehta, co-founder of Ather Energy, Shashank Kumar, co-founder of Razorpay, and Kailash Nadh, CTO of Zerodha.

gradCapital co-founder and CEO Abhishek Sethi said, “We are not in the business of finding and investing in deals, we are in the business of letting students be more ambitious and build a future, despite having a challenging education system. Students are more likely to start a D2C company instead of a quantum computer, and we need more of the latter.”

The fund is backed by CIIE.CO, and among the cohort members are Ankur Warikoo, co-founder of Nearbuy, Kailash Nadh, CTO of Zerodha, and Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder and executive vice president of Info Edge.   

Founded in 2021 by two IIM Ahmedabad alumni, gradCapital conducted a cohort of five teams to help them get into YC and Zepto. gradCapital had then raised USD 1 million to deploy into 18 companies. The fund is now running at about two times its initial value within 18 months, it said.

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