Wipro Ventures, the investment arm of one of India’s largest IT companies by market capitalization, said on Thursday it has raised $150 million for its second fund as it looks to invest in more enterprise startups and venture capitalist funds.
As with its $100 million maiden fund in 2015, Wipro Ventures will use its second fund to invest in early and mid-stage startups worldwide that are building enterprise solutions in cybersecurity, analytics, cloud infrastructure, test automation, and AI, said Biplab Adhya, in an interview with TechCrunch.
Through its maiden fund, Wipro Ventures invested in 16 startups and five VC funds. Adhya said two of its portfolio startups — including Demisto, which sold to Palo Alto for $560 million — have seen an exit while others are showing good signs.
“We are pleased with the traction these startups are showing and the value we have added to Wipro, and we look forward to continuing this journey,” he said.
Adhya said Wipro Ventures looks to be a long-term investor in a startup. In addition to often participating in a startup’s follow-on financial rounds, it tends to stay with a startup until its IPO, he said.
Of the 16 startups Wipro Ventures has invested to date, 11 of them are based in the U.S., four in Israel, and one in India. Adhya said geography tends not to play a crucial role when investing in a startup, and he is open to ideas from anywhere in the world.
A corporate giant showing interest in picking stake in private equity firms is not a new phenomenon. Leaving aside the American giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, all of which operate investment arms, Indian IT giants have also been at it for years.
HCL and Infosys, two other IT giants in India, have also invested in — or outright acquired — dozens of startups in recent years. A 2017 CB Insights report showed that Wipro and Infosys, which runs Innovation Fund, alone had invested in 28 firms and acquired eight startups.
Adhya said Wipro Ventures is now investing in six to eight startups each year.
One of the benefits of taking money from a corporate giant is sometimes getting access to their other customers. And that appears to be true of Wipro. More than 100 of Wipro’s global customers have deployed solutions from its portfolio startups, Adhya said.
In a statement, Rishi Bhargava, a founder of Demisto, explained the benefit. “Within the first year of our partnership, Wipro and Demisto were working together on dozens of Fortune 1000 opportunities and closing a majority of them.
“It’s exciting to see Wipro Ventures continue to enhance the startup ecosystem with new capital while helping companies boost their bottom line,” he added.