“I can’t build a steel factory overnight. But with startups, what is wonderful is that the initial money invested is small, but you can still develop very big ideas.”
That was Indian business tycoon Ratan Tata in a conversation with Vani Kola, founder and managing director of Kalaari Capital. They were talking earlier this year at the launch event of the Indian VC’s seed investment arm, Kstart, which also provides incubation. Ten months later, two out of the six startups from the Kstart portfolio have received series A funding.
It works out savings plans for patients and flexi payment plans with hospitals.
Kalaari Capital today announced a US$3 million round in fintech #startup AffordPlan by Prime Ventures and Kalaari. The startup is trying to find an alternative path to soften the sudden blow of big medical bills in a country where health insurance is scarce. It works out savings plans for patients and flexi payment plans with hospitals.
“AffordPlan identified a massive problem that is underserved today. They then created a solution for it in a structured but condensed time period,” says Vani Kola. The co-founders, Tejbir Singh and Hemal Bhatt, earlier held senior positions in TaxiForSure, a cab startup acquired by Ola in 2015.
Twin benefits of seed program
The second startup, Active.ai, uses artificial intelligence to automate customer interactions for financial services. It raised US$3 million for IDG Ventures and Kalaari Capital. The co-founders – Ravi Shankar, Shankar Narayanan, and Parikshit Paspulati – earlier held senior positions in the financial and telecom sectors.
The Kstart seed program had twin benefits for both Kalaari Capital and the startups, which had access to Kalaari partners from the very outset. “We were one of the first companies to enter Kstart, and had several in-depth interactions with senior members of Kalaari, including Vani,” says Active.ai CEO Ravi Shankar.
“The biggest advantage we have from a Kalaari standpoint, when we work with Kstart companies, is the previously unavailable ability to observe these companies at close quarters,” says Bala Srinivasa, partner at Kalaari Capital. “This makes it a lot easier when they come to us for series A funding.”
As the funding environment got more challenging this year, being hitched to the seed program with a top VC has indeed proved useful to these two startups in raising series A funding.