26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Kitty Agarwal, partner, Info Edge Ventures

Kitty Agarwal is a partner for Info Edge Ventures, the early-stage corporate venture capital (CVC) unit launched in early 2020 by India-based online classified listings operator Info Edge.

Info Edge, which runs India’s largest online job portal dubbed Naukri.com, committed an initial Rs 1bn ($14m) to the fund in January 2020, which targets developers of innovative consumer technology at seed and series A-stage.

Its dedicated CVC fund, Info Edge Venture Fund (IEVF), raised Rs 3.8bn ($51.5m) for its inaugural fund from Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek in December 2020.

The amount represents half of the fund’s $100m total ceiling and adds to the $14m Info Edge put up at its inception in January 2020. Temasek contributed indirect subsidiary MacRitchie Investments.

IEVF invests in early-stage rounds for consumer technology startups. Its first batch of deals has included influencer shopping recommendation app Bulbul, digital entertainment provider Qyuki, offline-to-online commerce platform DotPe.

The fund strengthens Info Edge’s corporate venturing activity following a string of direct investments in companies such as food delivery service Zomato.

Sumit Jaiswal, corporate development and strategy lead at Info Edge, continues to focus on strategic investments from the company’s balance sheet, and sources told Money Control that a separate CVC unit would be beneficial for entrepreneurs from a compliance, regulatory and angel tax standpoint, adding that it could improve and refine the company’s venture capital talent retention, investment and exit strategies.

Agarwal had been with Info Edge for over seven years, having most recently been associate vice-president for two years from 2016 then head of corporate development for a year.

During that time, she had overseen direct investment deals including funding for Zomato, professional photography services marketplace Canvera Digital Technologies and ETechAces, the owner of insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar. Her other investments were personal care product provider Happily Unmarried (Ustraa) and study material provider Meritnation (Applect Learning Systems).

Agarwal told YourStory in December 2019 that in addition to financial backing, she also helped portfolio companies to build strategy, monitor progress, raise follow-on funding, carry out due diligence and filing legal paperwork.

Info Edge Ventures will pursue financial return, typically providing between $500,000 and $5m per deal for technology companies that are developing innovative offerings, a spokesperson told VCCircle at the time, adding that Info Edge will continue to conduct direct investments.

As one insider said: “This fund has been launched to provide the team with dedicated resources to make them more agile in making financial investments and better compete with other VCs.

“Incentive structures are yet to be drawn. The international expansion would be a strategic call and that would not be within the purview of this fund, but, yes, the fund will be open to investing in both Indian and international startups.”

Agarwal told YourStory in an interview: “We leave our internal departments open to our founders. They can meet the sales department of Naukri as well as the marketing head at Info Edge, and learn how we do our PR. Even when it comes to hiring, when they make some top-level hires, [Info Edge founder and executive vice chairman] Sanjeev [Bikhchandani] and I interview the candidates and share our opinions.”

Agarwal hails from a Marwari business family in Kolkata, according to YourStory, where it is still uncommon for women to seek professional careers outside their family-owned business.

After earning an MBA from Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad in 2012, she expressed her interest in entrepreneurship to Bikhchandani and was hired by Info Edge as an analyst.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.