Indian firm targets $150m for debut cleantech fund

Prithvi Sustainability Innovation and Technology Fund, which will invest ‘in anything that can protect air, water and soil’, is targeting a $100m first close by January 2010.

India's cleantech sectors will be the focus of the Prithvi Sustainability Innovation and Technology Fund, a private equity fund targeting commitments of $150 million.

The fund will be managed by an advisory company that is being set up and will be based out of Mumbai, Shankar Rele, the chief executive officer of investment advisory firm ICE Startups.com, told sister news site PEI Asia.

Prithvi is an initiative of Rele and Pramod Sheddy, who has worked at TDICI Limited, a private equity joint venture between ICICI Bank and the Unit Trust of India. TDICI was the predecessor to ICICI Venture. Sheddy later worked for private equity firm BTS Investment Advisors in India.

Both Rele and Sheddy are joint chief executives of the fund.

The fund has soft commitments of up to $10 million under negotiation, Rele said. It is expected to see a $100 million first close at the latest by January 2010 and a final close by April 2010, he said.

Prithvi will invest in sectors that aid sustainability, targeting “anything that can protect air, water and soil”, Rele said. This would include areas such as water treatment, wastewater management, soil conservation, air pollution management, waste management, bio mass, bio-diesel and solar technologies, he added.

The fund will invest between $5 million and $15 million per transaction, but could look at investments in the range of $1 million to $5 million if it comes across highly innovative technologies that require capital at the start up stage, Rele said.

Rele and Sheddy are joined by Bangalore-based entrepreneur Rajeev Kumar, who will assist with deal sourcing and fundraising, Rele said. Kumar is an “entereprenuer, advanced technology and green technology evangelist and management expert”, according to his profile on professional networking site LinkedIn. His profile notes he is best known for social initiatives via involvement with organisations such as the India Innovation Network and an eponymous foundation.

ICE Startups.com is a strategic management advisory services boutique focused on IT, BPOs, KPOs, media, telecoms, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, travel, banking, insurance, realty and retail. The firm has arranged about INR10 billion ($217 million; €145 million) for companies in debt and equity financing so far.