IFC to back VenturEast’s life sciences fund

The World Bank’s private investment arm will invest up to 20 percent of VenturEast Life Fund III’s committed capital.

The International Finance Corporation will invest up to 20 percent of the capital for VenturEast Life Fund III, the eighth fund of Indian venture firm VenturEast. 

The fund expects its first close “fairly soon, after May”, and the fund size will be disclosed then, Sarath Naru, founder and managing partner of VenturEast, said in an interview.

The vehicle will make growth investments in small and medium enterprises with operations in India. It will target life sciences sectors including healthcare, food and agri-processing and bio fuels. The vehicle will take minority positions and will invest up to $15 million per deal. It is open to co-investments, according to Naru.

In 2007, IFC invested $15 million in VenturEast Proactive Fund, VenturEast’s sixth fund, which closed on $110 million in 2008. The fund is currently 25 percent invested, said Naru. It targets early and growth investments in technology sectors such as semi-conductors and infrastructure technology.

Earlier this month, the IFC said it would commit 20 percent or up to $15 million of Zephyr Peacock India's Fund II, which is targeting $75 million.

Founded in 1999, VenturEast has close to $300 million under management. The firm has offices in Chennai and Hyderabad.