eruditus: Eruditus founder’s family office backs venture debt fund Innoven with $32 million

Bangalore: Ashwin Damera, cofounder and chief executive officer (CEO) of edtech startup Eruditus, through his personal office, has invested $32 million in venture debt firm Innoven Capital India Fund.

With this, Damera is now the second largest LP (Limited Partner) in the fund. LPs are sponsors in an investment fund. Damera and his wife Bhagyashree Damera co-manage his personal investments.

The existing fund of Innoven Capital, where Damera is investing, has a base corpus of Rs 1,000 crore and greenshoe option of another Rs 1,000 crore.

In addition to Damera, the fund’s other anchor investors include InnoVen Capital Pte Ltd, a joint venture between Temasek’s subsidiary Sevoira, and United Overseas Bank. He has committed $100 million. InnoVen is planning to close the fund by the next quarter of this fiscal.

Damera told ET, “Venture loans are a great way for growing startups to extend their cash runway to reach big milestones and then raise equity funding on strong growth momentum.”

It is a much needed component of the startup ecosystem.

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Interestingly, Eruditus closed $350 million of debt financing from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) to largely fund its aggressive acquisition plans in its overseas markets.

Damera founded Eruditus in 2010 as a global edtech platform, which is currently valued at $3.2 billion, following a $650 million funding round in 2021. It is backed by marquee investors such as SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Prosus, Accel, Sequoia, Bertelsmann and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Following the funding round, Damera and Eruditus management liquidated approximately $100 million worth of shares, making it the largest cash-out for a single founder. ET first reported the development in August 2021.

In all, the Mumbai-based edtech firm has raised about $834 million since 2016—which includes primary and secondary share sales.

Innoven Capital is a venture lending firm with offices in India, China and Singapore. It provides debt capital to high-growth venture capital-backed startups.

Established in 2008, InnoVen provides a range of debt capital solutions including venture loans, acquisition finance, development loans and working capital. The fund has partnered with over 200 start-ups, including market-leading companies like Byju’s; Swiggy; Dailyhunt; Elasticrun, Oyo Rooms, Pharmeasy, Boat, Moglix, Curefit, and more.

Ashish Sharma, Managing Partner, Innoven Capital India Fund said, “While we are raising capital from multiple segments of investors, it is always special for successful founders to invest with us, as they bring value beyond capital.”

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