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Rukam Capital gains 5.36X returns on Pilgrim exit; to launch Rs 100 Cr tech fund

Early-stage investor Rukam Capital gained a 5.36X return in two years with its exit from D2C beauty brand Pilgrim.

“We returned capital cash to our LPs, even though we are still in our deployment period. So, I think it’s a pretty good return for a two-year hold,” Managing Partner Archana Jahagirdar told YourStory.

The exit was a part of the $20 million Series B round Piligrim had raised in September from Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, along with existing investors Fireside Ventures and Narotam Sekhsaria Family Office. Rukam Capital invested in Pilgrim as part of the Rs 13 crore Series A round.

Founded in 2019 by IIT-Bombay graduates Anurag Kedia and Gagandeep Makker, Pilgrim is a D2C startup that sells hair and skincare products.

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Entering tech

Rukam will also launch a Rs 100 crore tech-focused fund called Rukam Sitara and will invest between Rs 50 lakhs and Rs 1 crore in early-stage startups. It aims to make subsequent investments depending on “how the company shapes up”.

“I think there’s a lot of capital for tech companies at series A, series B sort of onwards, but at the early stage, institutionalised capital is limited,” Jahagirdar said while explaining the rationale behind the fund.

“And we think that the framework that we’ve developed to support founders post our investment is pretty robust and we would like to bring that to play for tech founders as well,” she added.

Through its fund, Rukam will invest in sectors such as generative AI, B2B SaaS, and tech solutions in consumer product distribution. The fund has already invested in an AI video startup and is in the process of making a formal announcement.

For more than four years Rukam Capital has exclusively invested in consumer brands such as Sleepy Owl coffee, CureFoods, Beco and BurgerSingh. Now, it will shift its focus to tech.

“For the early stage, it’s much more an assessment of the founder and what is the depth of understanding and commitment of the founder rather than really validating an idea,” the managing partner explained.

Rukam Capital wants to put in place vigilant monitoring governance structures, especially amid the current market downturns, while also empathising with the business.

“I would say that we are the most empathetic investors, and we understand the pain of building ground up, and we don’t impose our point of view,” Jahagirdar said. “And we don’t emphasise on top-line growth alone, we insist on bottom line collections as well because just chasing top line is not going to help you build a company.”

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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