Billionaire Anil Agarwal, executive chairman of Vedanta Resources, plans to launch a venture capital fund worth Rs 6,500 crore ($1-billion) to help young Indian entrepreneurs build their businesses in the natural resources space.
With this move, Agarwal will joins industrialists such as Mukesh Ambani, N R Narayana Murthy and Azim Premji, who are already financing start-ups. Recently Agarwal made Rs 13,000 crore ($2-billion) investment in UK-based mining company, Anglo American Plc.
The platform will assist entrepreneurs whose ventures are connected with his diverse commodity businesses, the London-based business tycoon told TOI in an interview.
"I only know my (natural resources) sector well. And so a partnership will help these ventures blossom in and around his Vedanta Group," Agarwal said. Depending on the requirements, he will invest anywhere between Rs 5 crore and Rs 200 crore ($30 million) in select entities.
Agarwal's Vedanta empires' operations spread from India to South Africa and engaged in businesses ranging from iron ore, copper, zinc, aluminium, gold, silver and diamond to oil & gas. With revenues of over $15 billion, two third of the group's business comes from India.
Agarwal's planned venture will be the first natural resources-focused fund established by an Indian industrialist. Most of the venture capital funds focus on investing in the technology sector.
The mining baron said the move to back small and medium enterprises is more of a strategic move rather than one focusing on just investment. "The structure under which the fund will be set up is yet to be decided. We are still debating if the fund will be through the company (Vedanta) or in an individual capacity," he said.