AMD plans to raise $200 million India-focused tech fund

Mumbai: AMD Ventures, the venture capital arm of US-based chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), is raising an India-focused technology fund with a targeted corpus of close to $200 million, said two people directly aware of the development , on the condition of anonymity.

The India-focused fund will be an offshore entity and will operate from either Singapore or Amsterdam. The fund will follow the foreign direct investment (FDI) route to invest in technology-focused companies in India. AMD is understood to have hired law firm AZB Partners as legal advisers in India for the new fund.

AMD Ventures typically invests in strategic software and application ecosystem companies that provide services to developed and growing countries with focus on data visualization/analytics, augmented and virtual reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

So far, AMD ventures has invested in companies such as US-based Bluestacks, a cloud-based cross-platform products start up, and US-based InContext Solutions, a technology and market research platform, Tango, a free mobile messaging application provider.

Emails sent to AMD Ventures and AZB partners seeking comment did not elicit any response.

With this, AMD Ventures joins the rank of rival chipmaker Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of the world’s biggest chipmaker, which already has a $250 million India technology fund that was launched in the year 2005.

The VC fund has invested in companies including online marketplace Indiamart.com, travel operator Yatra Online, and software services company Happiest Minds Technologies.

It has slowed the pace of investing in Indian start-ups as part of a change in strategy, Mint reported in August 2016.

Other corporate venture funds such as Cisco Investments, Qualcomm Ventures, and Siemens India have also been active in the region.

According to US research firm CB Insights, globally, corporate venture capital (CVC) activity hit a nine-quarter low but in India, the number of deals has doubled and amount of funding rose five times in the second quarter on a sequential basis to 13 transactions worth $171 million, the report said.

“What has really changed is perhaps the culture of innovation in the country. There was a time when India as a society did not really have the courage to actually start from scratch which is where entrepreneurs got into typical employment role. Start-ups need support and venture firms are supporting them in a meaningful way. Private equity or a strategic buyer never had the risk appetite to help in creating such businesses. So it’s purely venture capital and angel investor who traditionally have been supporting this,” said Bijal Ajinkya, partner at law firm Khaitan and Co.

Santa Clara, California-based AMD develops and sells motherboards, chipsets, microprocessors for business and consumer markets.livemint

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