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Austin bets on Bengal

Calcutta, Dec. 24: Austin Ventures, one of the largest US-based venture capital firms, is keen to fund companies in Bengal.

The company manages capital worth $3.1 billion in 150 companies across nine funds.

The Texas-based fund has been investing in India for the last five years and has around 13 companies in which it has invested $200 million. It is the first overseas fund to come to Bengal’s IT companies.

According to Krishna Srinivasan, partner at Austin Ventures, “We have set our sights on Bengal as we feel this is the right time. However, the state needs to create the right kind of ecosystem, which would enable investors to look at the state seriously for investment.

“We would also be happy to help the Bengal government set up a network of angel mentors and investors who will groom state entrepreneurs on how to sell their proposals to investors,” Srinivasan said.

Srinivasan and P.K. Sandell, chairman of the IT subcommittee of Assocham, met Bengal IT minister Debesh Das.

Srinivasan also invited the Bengal IT minister to Texas to see how industry associations along with the government have created an ecosystem of investment friendly sectors.

Bengal has 600 small and medium IT companies that need funds to grow.

Once the Software Technology Parks of India tax holiday scheme ends, around 3000 of the 5000 small and medium IT companies would have to relocate.

According to the National Association of Small and Medium IT Companies of India (Nasmeit), of the 5000 IT small and medium enterprises, 3000 are members of their organisation.

Assocham, along with Nasmeit and the Bengal government, are looking at hosting a national symposium to showcase the IT small and medium enterprises of the state.

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