It will be the largest venture capital fund supporting the AI and robotics industry in the country, where funding is still in its infancy.
ARTPARK (AI and Robotics Technology Park), based in Bengaluru, works closely with universities and researchers to develop cutting-edge technological solutions to real-world problems specific to India. It aims to help talented people and researchers start businesses and develop products.
“We have the university ecosystem that produces world-class talent. Connecting them to an institution like ARTPARK will help them work on their ideas, use our resources and scale solutions, ”ARTPARK CEO Umakant Soni told ET. “We are launching this $ 100 million fund to help these businesses. ”
He said the fund could potentially fill the existing gap in funding for high-tech companies. “Venture capital funds in India expect companies to show value in terms of income. But in reality, income is just a lagging indicator, not a leading indicator, ”he said.
The soon to be launched venture capital fund will focus on companies and startups with an appetite for risk. “ARTPARK is a place where people come to take risks. The institution will provide an ecosystem, talent and funding where innovative minds can take bold risks and develop technological solutions in strategic areas, ”said Soni.
ARTPARK was incubated at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, last year, and set up with support from AI Foundry, also a Section 8 company, as part of a public-private partnership with a $ 32 million seed grant from the Department of Science and Technology and the Government of Karnataka.
The organization plans to create and support unique AI and robotics companies that can have visible societal impact in health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and such areas.
The technological innovation park is set up on the model of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in the United States which was at the forefront of the creation of Silicon Valley. “We want to take photos of the technology and create a sustainable ecosystem that can produce remarkable results over the next 10 years,” Soni said.
According to him, the venture capital fund aligns with the economic model of ARTPARK where the organization will become autonomous in five years once government funding has stopped. “The organization will also hold stakes in companies similar to SRI,” he said.
Soni is also a founding partner of pi Ventures, one of India’s premier deep-tech funds with a body of $ 30 million.