VC Firm AWE Funds launches INR 350 Cr to invest in Women-focused startups of India

Seema Chaturvedi Awe funds

US VC Firm Achieving Women Equity (AWE) Funds has launched an INR 350 Cr fund focusing on India to support startups in the country. The fund will invest between INR 3.5 Cr and INR 20 Cr in nearly 15 women-focused startups operating in health, climate and sustainability, food and agriculture, education, and fintech in the next 5 years.

To date, the fund has received pledges of INR 130 Cr from prominent Indian and international donors and high-profile individuals including Zia Mody of AZB & Partners, Soumya Rajan of Waterfield Advisors, and Padma Chandrasekaran and Divya Sampath, among others.

Seema Chaturvedi, Founding Partner of AWE Funds, said “We have been investing with a gender lens that delivers sustainable economic development and commercial returns. Our richly experienced on-the-ground team in India will help us successfully champion a gender-inclusive ecosystem.”

AWE Funds is a venture capital platform that primarily invests in startups or organizations that promote gender equality and sustainability. It supports early stage and growth stage startups working in different industries.

Ms Chaturvedi further said, “The need for women to join the mainstream economic value creation has gained serious urgency. Gender equity unleashes a massive multiplier flywheel effect to mobilize these scarce resources for maximal output. We believe that AWE Funds can play a very positive role in catalyzing this much-required change at a stage when it is most impactful through an effective allocation of capital,”

The AWE Foundation aims to empower 30 Mn women by pouring money into women-led or women-focused startups. So far, it has backed four startups – agritech startup Freshokartz Agri, fintech startup Agam International, and health tech startups and Blackburn Technologies.

The AWE Funds team has many years of experience working in India and the United States. According to the venture capital firm, the group has jointly made investments amounting to INR 2800 Cr so far. Over the past few months, a series of venture capital funds have been set up to support early-stage and growth-stage Indian startups.

In July, LetsVenture co-founder Shanti Mohan launched a micro-venture fund called Propell to back 30 early-stage tech startups. In June, KKR advisor Sanjay Nayar launched a venture capital fund to invest in early-stage Indian startups. Meanwhile, Fund Basic VC has set up a $130 million industry-neutral venture capital fund to invest in Indian startups.

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