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First Cheque Closes its Second Fund at Rs 38 Cr ($5 Mn); Plans to Invest in 50 Companies Over the Next 18 Mths

First Cheque, an early-stage VC, launches its second fund to invest in 50 startups in the next 8 months. The fund, which used to operate as an AngelList syndicate and had invested in 100+ startups in the past three years, has raised ₹38 Crore from global investors for its second fund. The firm will focus on first-time founders and will invest $100K in each of its portfolio companies, which is essential for founders to get their business started from scratch.

First Cheque aims to be the earliest institutional capital available for founders and seeks to achieve this by investing at the pre-seed stage. The firm has a sector agnostic approach and is open to backing founding teams at the paper-plan stage. The closure of its Second fund takes the firm’s total AUM to Rs 90 Crore.

First Cheque has streamlined its deployment process to less than 30 days – from initial discussion to capital deployment. It is also launching an in-house program, featuring leading founders, sector experts and Venture Capitalists who will share their experiences around building a company, GTM strategy, hiring & retention, monetisation and fundraising.

Additionally, the VC firm will be organising bi-annual demo days with leading VCs, simplifying the fundraising process for their portfolio companies. The team will also actively work with its portfolio companies to improve their pitch and help them identify the right product metrics.

First Cheque works closely with 50+ Venture Partners (VPs) who help in curating a portfolio that is inclusive and diverse in nature. This list consists of founders, product managers, community managers, sector experts and growth managers. It also plans to onboard undergraduate venture fellows, who will connect the fund with high-potential student startups from their respective colleges. First Cheque worked with 20+ venture partners during its first fund, and added ~100 startups to its portfolio, through the same. Some of its renowned portfolio ventures include Fashinza, Giva, Rocketlane, Fleetx, Wint Wealth, Plaza/Rigi, Global Fair, Drink Prime and Bellatrix Aerospace.

Speaking of the vision, Prateek Agarwal, Investment Lead, First Cheque said, “We are looking to back aspirational founders with lesser emphasis on conventional prerequisites such as the educational pedigree, previous founding experience and conviction from other VCs. In our investment decision, ‘Founder Market Fit’ will take precedence over these factors. We believe that India needs more seed stage institutional capital and mentorship, which we aim to provide via our founder community, dedicated program, and a network of seasoned investors and venture partners. Our commitment is to foster a support system that can help our founders throughout their journey. It is a small step aligned with PM Narendra Modi’s “Startup India” initiative.”

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