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Atul Hegde, Sudhir Menon to jointly form $50 mn start-up fund Rainmaker Ventures

MUMBAI: Digital marketing firm Ignitee Digital Services CEO Atul Hegde has joined hands with Dorf Ketal CMD Sudhir Menon to launch a new early-stage start-up fund, Rainmaker Ventures.

Having presence in India, the USA, Brazil and Singapore, Rainmaker Ventures is a $50-million fund aimed at identifying competent tech start-ups and investing not only seed capital but also the partners’ collective expertise in growing successful businesses.

The mutual vision that brought Hegde and Menon together was the idea that “early stage start-ups need holistic mentorship as much as they need seed capital”.

Rainmaker Ventures will look at mentoring 10–12 early-stage start-ups in its first year of operations. Expansion will be enabled with more senior professionals from varied sectors joining the company as full-time mentors.

Hegde has been with Ignitee, the Astro group of Malaysia-funded To The New Venture since April 2008, while Menon heads Dorf Ketal, which is a Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) global corporation specialising in the development, commercialisation, marketing and application of specialty engineered chemistries for the petrochemical industries.

Hegde said, “Rainmaker by the modern definition is somebody who makes a significant difference to an organisation or a group. We strongly feel that early-stage start-ups need full-time mentoring as much as they need capital. I have seen most start-up businesses fail to move on to the next stage due to lack of real-life business experience. Simply infusing capital is not the only requirement. That’s where Rainmaker Ventures comes in. We want to create a value-establishment—one that creates and nurtures real businesses in today’s virtual world.”

Menon added, “Today, capital seems to be chasing anything that is in the garb of a tech start-up. This scenario will get a reality check very soon. In the end, it’s real business that counts, both to the start-up founders and to the investors. Rainmaker ventures will focus on helping budding entrepreneurs to build a strong business on the ground. We believe that is the only way to ride and survive this start-up wave.”