Punjab Infotech Venture Fund scouts for strategic partner
PUNJAB Infotech Venture Fund (PIVF) is scouting for a suitable strategic partner/investor under the public private partnership (PPP) initiative to enhance further its level of operational efficiency and to bridge the gap in the existing fund corpus. PIVF, with a corpus of Rs 20 crore, was set up by the Punjab government through its corporate bodies like Punjab Information & Communication Technology Corporation Limited (Punjab Infotech), Punjab State Industrial development Corporation Limited and Punjab Financial Corporation in association with the Small Industries Development Bank of India as a 10 year close-ended fund, with the objective of investing in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), primarily in the information technology and software sectors. However, PIVF is now looking for strategic investors in like venture capitalists, private equity firms, banks, financial institutions and other private sector entities to help it bridge the gap of Rs 15.50 crore in the existing fund corpus. It has, therefore, sought expression of interest(EOI)- cum-request-for-qualification from interested parties. Talking to ET,Punjab Venture Capital Limited (PVCL) CEO R K Bhandari said the fund would be open to all kinds of transactions and will invest in start-up/seed /R & D ventures, growth capital, turnarounds and buyouts. With the induction of a strategic partner, PIVF would be in a position to enhance further the level of operational efficiency through efficient systems and processes in managing the fund, bridge the gap in the existing fund corpus and assist the fund to increase its corpus to Rs 50 crore and further to Rs 100 crore in the next two years. He said, “ our endeavour would also be to widen the sectoral coverage from existing IT and software sectors to target SMEs in other knowledge-based sectors.” He said the suitable partner will get an opportunity to take a stake in Punjab Venture Capital Limited, the investment manager and Punjab Venture Investors Trust Limited, the trustee company and would have the management rights commensurate with the level of participation. Interested parties have been given time till August 31to apply. Mr Bhandari said PIVF had raised Rs 4.5 crore of which Rs 2.5 crore had come from the Punjab government through its corporate bodies and Rs 2 crore from SIDBI. PIVF had sanctioned Rs 17.9 crore to eleven companies. However, Rs 6 crore sanctioned to two companies was subsequently cancelled. It has so far disbursed Rs 3.4 crore to nearly half a dozen companies of whom two are dividend paying companies and two are startup/marketing stage companies. Nearly Rs 8.5 crore commitment to sanctioned companies was pending. However, due to non availability of funds further investments could not be made.