Japanese automobile giant Suzuki Motor has unveiled its inaugural investment fund in India, named Next Bharat Ventures, with a substantial corpus of Rs 340 crore. This fund is dedicated to nurturing impact entrepreneurs working in Tier-II and below geographies, focusing on sectors such as agriculture, financial inclusion, rural supply chains, and mobility.

The Next Bharat Ventures fund will operate through a residency program, set to commence its first cohort in October. The program, akin to those offered by Antler and Y Combinator, will focus on startups that drive social impact. Over four months, selected entrepreneurs will benefit from mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities, followed by equity investments ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 8 crore.

The fund aims to empower “India’s next billion” by supporting startups from Tier-II and Tier-III cities, emphasizing businesses that cater to underrepresented regions. It targets sectors like agritech, supply chain management, and rural mobility, benefiting workers in the informal and rural economy.

Vipul Nath Jindal, CEO and MD of Next Bharat, explained that the fund will invest in both growth-stage impact firms and early-stage entrepreneurs. By focusing on early-stage ventures and forming strategic synergies, Next Bharat aims to foster innovation and economic development in underserved communities.

In a related move, Maruti Suzuki India has been active in supporting startups and recently acquired a stake in Amlgo Labs. Suzuki’s President, Toshihiro Suzuki, highlighted the goal of connecting with the next billion people in India, extending beyond mobility to become part of India’s broader future.

Source: Indian Startup News