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ormer KKR India CEO and chairman Sanjay Nayar, who now runs technology-focused venture capital fund Sorin Investments, is entering a new space: climatetech.

Nayar is partnering with Peak Ventures – an early-stage firm focused on cleantech areas such as new energy, food systems, clean water and climate. Under the new arrangement, Nayar would become a general partner at the Mumbai-based firm.

Peak Ventures’ first investment fund of about $150 million is expected to accelerate the fundraising process following Nayar’s onboarding, managing partner Samir Shah told ET. The firm has received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to induct Nayar as a general partner.

“While nothing changes from our strategy or how we approach investment opportunities…what Sanjay helps to do is to see how we can scale in a shorter period of time,” Shah said, adding that he sees the fund evolving into backing relatively later-stage startups in this space.

“Over time, we are looking to build a large institutional platform, and Sanjay’s addition is strategic from the point of view of writing bigger cheques and bringing his investment acumen to decision making. Besides his capital contribution, his investment experience in India and ability to institutionalise Indian funds to attract high quality local capital comes as very important,” he added.

Peak’s track record

Samir Shah and the firm’s partner Aakash Shah, through their personal investments, have backed a number of companies in the climate tech and cleantech space including IPO-bound solar panel manufacturer Waaree Energies, and listed water tech firm VA Tech Wabag.

Through the Peak Ventures Sustainability Fund-I, the firm is looking to invest in 18-20 early-stage startups with average cheques ranging between $2 million and $5 million.

While the fund is largely India-focused, it could also look at startups building technologies outside of the country that can be scaled here. Samir Shah indicated that the firm is targeting a 75:25 split in investments between Indian and foreign companies.

The firm has also onboarded Norway’s former environment minister and United Nations Environment Programme executive director Erik Solheim on its advisory board.

Having received Sebi approval for Nayar’s induction, the Peak Ventures Sustainability Fund-I will formally launch with six warehoused investments. Warehousing of investments refers to a process where fund managers roll up their existing investments into a new fund. These investments are made with the intention of making them a part of the said fund.

Nayar’s investments

While this marks a foray into a new space for Nayar, his earlier fund Sorin Investments is focused more on technology sectors such as software-as-a-service (SaaS), edtech, fintech, and logistics.

The firm made its first bet in ESG consulting firm Uniqus Consultech, and in February, it invested in SaaS-enabled marketplace Venwiz along with Accel and Nexus Venture Partners.

For Nayar, the partnership with Peak Ventures rolls up into an umbrella entity representing his family office. This holding company also owns Sorin Investments separately. Taking up the role of a general partner, Nayar also assumes fiduciary responsibility for these funds instead of being a passive investor.

The partnership with Peak Ventures comes as Nayar’s family office looks to increase focus on cleantech sectors through specialised investors.

On November 20, ET reported the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) are expected to invest about Rs 300 crore into Sorin Investments, and with these new investments, the firm will close its maiden fund at Rs 1,300 crore.

Sorin Investments has raised money from Henry Kravis, George Roberts, and other associates of KKR & Co, in addition to Hero Enterprises chairman Sunil Kant Munjal, and other Indian family offices.

Peak Ventures plans to look at investor classes such as development finance institutions and sovereign wealth funds to raise capital.

  • Published On Nov 27, 2023 at 04:03 PM IST

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