Indian tech fund gets $400,000 WB grant

By siliconindia Bangalore Bureau   |   Monday, 19 July 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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BANGALORE: A private Indian equity company that invests in high technology ventures said Thursday it has received a grant of $400,000 from the World Bank to support up-and-coming companies in developing nations.
The funding will help Indiaco increase its portfolio of investments from 57 startup companies to about 150 by next March, company director Girish Narasimhan said.

Most of the companies will be in India, but some will be in other developing countries. "This is the first time the World Bank has invested in a private firm in India," Narasimhan said.

The company must speed up investment in new high-tech ventures, and set up online training courses for aspiring CEOs as part of the grant's conditions, he said.

Indiaco has raised $7 million to provide initial funding for entrepreneurs in information technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology and energy sectors.

Santa Clara, California-based Girvan Institute of Technology is one of Indiaco's investors. Indiaco, based in Pune, received the funding under the World Bank's Information for Development, or InfoDev, programme, which is designed to promote the use of information technology in developing countries.

The World Bank approved the grant last year, but the money arrived only two weeks ago after the Indian Government approved the assistance, Narasimhan said.

Indiaco will be required to invest an additional $400,000 of its own. It must also invest in at least 100 Indian companies before the end of 2005.

According to the World Bank, the InfoDev plan "helps developing countries and their international partners use information and communication broadly and effectively as tools of poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth."

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